University Ranks High on Sierra Club’s Cool Schools List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 08-25-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
530-898-4260

California State University, Chico has been named to the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools list, highlighting the nation’s greenest colleges and universities. CSU, Chico ranked No. 39, the highest of any CSU. 

efficient sprinklers run outside Kendall HallThe University is one of 173 colleges and universities named to the list, which is based on survey data submitted by campus administrators.

The survey, officially called the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, is a collaborative of four organizations: the Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Endowments Institute and The Princeton Review.

Sierra magazine, the bimonthly membership publication of the Sierra Club, uses the data to produce the list of rankings.

Staff in The Institute for Sustainable Development at CSU, Chico voluntarily completed an extensive online questionnaire at stars.aashe.org. Scores were tallied out of 1,000 points in 11 categories, including co-curricular, energy, investments, food, innovation, academics/research, planning, purchasing, transit, waste and water.

The University scored a total of 686.19 points and beat its own ranking last year of No. 79. The highest ranking school, University of California, Irvine, scored 813.51 points. A perfect score has never been achieved in the list’s eight-year history.

Cal Poly Pomona and CSU, Channel Islands ranked 44th and 45th, respectively.

James Pushnik, director of The Institute for Sustainable Development, said that CSU, Chico improved its score by 18 percent over last year in areas including innovation, water conservation and waste reduction.

“This is a reflection of all the kinds of things that we have been doing that really do show significant change,” Pushnik said. “When you look at our sister campuses, we’re the highest ranked CSU.”

Some of the steps taken since last year include incorporating sustainability into the curriculum of general education pathway courses and offering free student admission to This Way to Sustainability, the nation’s largest student-run sustainability conference.

Installing more efficient sprinkler heads and shifting the landscape irrigation schedule has also resulted in significant water savings, Pushnik said.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished on campus,” he said. “It speaks to everyone – procurement, purchasing, the administration – everybody has done something that has helped move this forward.

“We’ll be on the rise,” he added.

Learn more about CSU, Chico’s sustainability practices and the Institute for Sustainable Development at www.csuchico.edu/sustainablefuture. For more information on the Sierra Club’s 2014 Cool Schools, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/coolschools-2014.

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