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ASU named 'green college' by Princeton Review

Article Published: May. 6, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Appalachian State University has been included in The Princeton Review's first "Guide to Green Colleges."

In an effort to recognize the impressive environmental and sustainability programs at universities and colleges across the country, The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has released "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges" - the first, free comprehensive guidebook solely focused on institutions of higher education which have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.

The guide is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide. It profiles the nation's most environmentally responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges" looks at an institution's commitment to building certification using USGBC's LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs; and other factors.

The guide lists the university's Teaching and Research Farm and Agroecology Laboratory in Valle Crucis for its programs that teach students about agroecology, agroforestry and sustainable farming practices and its outreach to "encourage sustainable agricultural practices in the region." The guide also highlights the university's ongoing research involving biofuels and biomass projects.

Other highlights include Appalachian's 2009 installation of the largest wind turbine in the state, a commitment to LEED certification for all new construction, and renovations or retrofitting of current buildings.

Appalachian's commitment to sustainability also includes projects funded through the student initiated Renewable Energy Initiative, a $5 a semester fee that has funded installation of photovoltaic and solar thermal panels on several campus buildings, and provided half the cost of installing the wind turbine located near the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center.

The university is implementing several measures to reduce energy costs, including installation of energy efficient lighting, and replacement of inefficient heating and cooling systems across campus.

A campus-wide recycling program reclaims more than 900 tons of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, composted material and other materials from the waste stream each year. Low flow showerheads and sink faucet aerators have been installed in campus residence halls and the student union.

A newly established Office of Sustainability works with university administration, staff and students to improve the campus's sustainable practices.

The "Guide to Green Colleges" is online at and

Other North Carolina schools named to the list are: Duke University, Elon University, Guilford College, N.C. State University, Wake Forest University, UNC-Asheville and UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Our research has shown that students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending universities and colleges that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility," said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. "In fact, 64 percent of the nearly 12,000 college applicants and parents who participated in our recent College Hopes & Worries Survey said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process."

"Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. "Green facilities make colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs. Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities."

The Princeton Review noted that another aspect of the guide is that it provides important information on schools that have dedicated environmental studies curriculums. "By many accounts, there are going to be a lot of job opportunities related to the environment and sustainability," Franek said. "For those who are interested in working in this growing sector, the guide highlights the schools that are doing an especially good job in preparing and placing the next generation of green professionals."

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