UC a ‘shining star’ for college campuses in sustainability

UC a 'shining star' for college campuses in sustainability

Sierra magazine has placed the University of California's 10 campuses "in a league of their own" in the Sierra Club publication's second annual green college guide, which hit newsstands today (Aug. 21).

The ranking, along with others by Kaplan and Hearst's TheDailyGreen.com, highlight UC's role as a sustainability leader.

"Sustainability is a priority for the University of California," said Katherine N. Lapp, UC executive vice president for business operations. "We are honored by the recognition of UC's initiatives to reduce waste, expand transportation alternatives, conserve energy and water, and offer green dining options on campuses. We're excited about continuing to enhance these best practices while also advancing research innovations to solve environmental challenges and preparing students for green careers."

Sierra features the 10-campus UC system and the Eco League -- five liberal arts schools focused on environmental education -- as two "shining stars," national environmental leaders among colleges. The magazine, which ranked UC No. 4 in its initial green college guide last year, adjusted its approach this year to measure campuses as individual institutions but still wanted to recognize UC's systemwide achievements. Middlebury College in Vermont led Sierra's top 10 "coolest schools" list.

"We really wanted to highlight the great work that schools throughout the (UC) system are doing," said Josie Garthwaite, Sierra lifestyle editor. "It's a real leader when it comes to environmental policies in higher education."

The magazine spotlights several of UC's green efforts, such as vegetarian dining options at UC Berkeley, UC Davis harvesting campus olive trees into award-winning olive oils, UC Santa Cruz offsetting 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable energy credits, solar-powered water heaters at four UCLA student residence halls and UC San Diego generating renewable energy.

UC campuses also are featured in Sierra's list of "hot jobs to chill the planet," with top schools including UC Berkeley (wildlife biologist, environmental journalist, green building consultant), UC Davis (wildlife biologist) and UCLA (outdoor education coordinator).

Meanwhile, the UC system also earned a spot in Kaplan College Guide 2009's top 10 greenest schools (the top 10 are not assigned a number ranking), calling it "a leader in green initiatives across its ten campuses." Kaplan Publishing, a New York-based educational services provider, focused its 2009 college guide for the first time on environmentally responsible schools and green careers.

Under Kaplan's "10 hot green careers," top schools included UC Berkeley (environmental engineering, transportation systems planning), UC Davis (organic agriculture) and UC San Diego (transportation systems planning).

Among the guide's other highlights: UC Santa Cruz purchases 25 percent of its produce from local organic farmers; UC Berkeley serves only all-organic greens at its dining hall salad bars; UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz students can use pubic transportation free of cost; UC San Diego has more than 200 electric vehicles and another 30 hybrid vehicles for campus use; and UC Irvine's shuttles run entirely on biodiesel.

Hearst's TheDailyGreen.com ranked the UC system as No. 7on its list of 10 of the greenest colleges in America. "With 10 campuses spread out across the Golden State, the University of California has set the goals of boosting the use of low- and zero-emission vehicles by 50 percent by the year 2010, generating 10 megawatts of renewable energy by 2014, and achieving zero waste" by 2020, the July report said. "UCLA has already increased bicycle use by an encouraging 50 percent. UC Berkeley, well known for its passionate progressive spirit, has won national attention for hosting the first certified organic kitchen in a college setting. UC Merced, in the center of the state, is home to several impressive green buildings." Indeed, UC Merced is the only university in the country to have 100 percent of its buildings achieve LEED certification.

UC's sustainability policy began covering green building design and clean energy standards in 2004. The policy expanded in 2006 to include sustainable transportation practices and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. In 2007, climate protection practices, green building renovations, sustainable operations and maintenance, waste reduction, and environmentally preferable purchasing were added to UC's green business strategies.

For more information on UC's sustainability efforts:

Sierra magazine

Higher Education Energy Efficiency Partnership Best Practice Award winners

Fact sheet -- Greening UC: Leading the Way in Environmental Sustainability (pdf)

Fact sheet -- Sustainable Transportation at UC (pdf)

UC, CSU, CCC students, campus leaders explore sustainability benefits, future of green campuses

UC Office of the President

UC Berkeley

UC Davis

UC Irvine


UC Merced

UC Riverside

UC San Diego

UC San Francisco

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Cruz

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