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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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Green Campus
Description

“Green campus (noun; gren kam-p?s): A higher education community that is improving energy efficiency, conserving resources and enhancing environmental quality by educating for sustainability and creating healthy living and learning environments.” (U.S. Green Building Council, The Center for Green Schools, website: http://www.centerforgreenschools.org/green-campus.aspx)

Worldwide, people have become more aware of the increasingly important environmental issues like climate change, ozone layer depletion, non-renewable resource stocks exhaustion and so on. Due to this raised awareness of the environment around us and its problems, many companies have spent a lot of resources to get “green” in an effort to gain a competitive advantage in attracting both their employees and consumers. “Business as usual” now involves sustainable efforts that enable these companies to become more efficient, profitable and sustainable.

This trend has caught on to American colleges and universities. More and more educational institutions around the country have turned their attention to greening their campuses by implementing sustainable practices. Through a myriad of improvements involving smart energy usage, recycling and water saving, among others, campuses can help themselves by slashing their operation costs and at a global level reduce the toll on our planet’s health.

As one of the oldest and most proficient undertaking of this kind, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)’s Campus EcologyTM Program aims, by working with colleges and universities around the country, to improve their overall green educational programming and onsite sustainability. Many U.S. campuses, including the Providence College have become partners with the NWF in adopting this program and almost one thousand campuses benefit annually of the outreach programs, campus consulting, climate action competition, and educational events and resources offered by the NWF.

The stated goals of Campus EcologyTM as follows:

  • Implement the American Colleges and Universities President's Climate Commitment,
  • Cut energy costs,
  • Educate students about how they can lead sustainable careers,
  • Promote clean energy solutions in surrounding towns, cities, and states.

For more information about the NWF's Campus Ecology program, use the link below to chack out their website:

Another great initiative is the one put forth by the Climate Culture (CC): America’s Greenest Campus contest. Its purpose is to provide incentives to campuses around the US to use energy more efficiently and sustainably. FY 2009, the winners of this contest were Rio Salado College and the University of Maryland, for having managed to reduce their carbon footprint per person by up to 4.4% and have 2,257 registered participants in their “campus greening” program.

Also, check out an interesting classification of the Top 20 Colleges & Universities that are green power purchasers is compiled by the U.S. EPA. “The Top 20 College & University list represents the largest purchasers among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power purchases of these organizations amounts to nearly 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually, which is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 108,000 average American homes annually.” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011, website: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top20ed.htm)

Interested in learning ways in which to make our campus green?

Links

For more information on this hot topic check out the following websites: