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How Green is Your Campus - Do Students Care?

Posted by Michael J. Daley on 8/24/2015 to Press Releases

Soon a new class of students will be on their way to college campuses around the nation. They'll come with their drink cups and water bottles and deli containers and a heightened awareness of climate change issues. Will they be satisfied with the quality of life they find on campus? Not if there isn't a recycling bin handy when they sip the last sip, or the latest LED lighting isn't installed in their desk lamps, a recent survey suggests. In fact, 61% of them might feel disappointed enough to go elsewhere.

pictured: Glaro Three-Stream Recycling Station in Satin Aluminum The Source

That figure comes from The Princeton Review's “2015 College Hopes and Worries Survey”. According to Robert Franek, Senior VP-Publisher, “Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in [the survey], 61% told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.” (complete report available at www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries)

Have You Checked Your Ranking Lately?

For the past six years, the Princeton Review has been helping those environmentally conscious students find the colleges in tune with their values by publishing a free, downloadable book. The current version is called, “The Princeton Review's Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition” (www.princetonreview.com/green-guide).  The guide profiles colleges' commitments to sustainability, providing college applicants with detailed “Green Facts” write-ups reporting on everything from the school's use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs as well as the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

Based on survey data supplied by school administrators, the Guide ranks each institution. The Guide further distinguishes exceptional institutions with its “Top 50 Green Colleges” list. Lewis and Clark College of Portland, Oregon earned the top slot this year followed closely by Green Mountain College located in Recycle Away's home state of Vermont.

“We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” Franek says. But is anyone listening? You bet! And they are the kids you want applying to your college.

Who is The Princeton Review and Why What They Say Matters to Your Institution

The Princeton Review is a leading test preparation, tutoring, and college admissions services company. Each year, it helps millions of college and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals.

The Top 50 Share a Common Element

In compiling the Top 50 list, The Review noted some compelling facts that these colleges strongly shared:

  • 33 % of their total food expenditures go to purchases of local and/or organic food.
  • 81% of the new construction on campuses is USGBC (www.usgbc.org) LEED-certified.
  • 96% offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability focused.
  • 98% have a sustainability officer and sustainability committee.

You can bet that another thing they all share is a strong recycling program.

One Size Fits All?

Have you checked your ranking yet? In a satisfying spot? We hope so, but if not, should you rush out and buy a gazillion blue bins to spiff up your image? Might be tempting and seem a quick and easy way to go. But pause to consider this: Recycling bins suitable for the Student Center with its high traffic and boisterous clientele might be quite out of place in the Faculty Lounge. 

In corporate, academic, and municipal settings, increasing attention is being paid to the integration of these essential waste management containers with the overall décor and branding goals of each unique institution.


The expert staff at Recycle Away has helped over 65 institutions of higher learning find or custom design recycling infrastructure. Let them help you strengthen this aspect of your sustainability program.