Photo by David Michael Morris


So I'm now the holder of a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with a Concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy. How does that roll off the tongue? It took me four years, taking classes on the side. Over the weekend, I visited the campus of the University of Illinois-Springfield for the first time. How is this possible?

The classes that I took were virtual, at a university that has about 5,000 students, 25% of which take classes online. Did I choose the UIS Environmental Studies program for its convenient green-ness, so I wouldn't have to spend every weekend or several weeknights driving to classes? Yes. I also chose the program because it was accredited, and offered in-state tuition for a Michigander.

This is not an intentional advertisement. It's just a segue into a new list of 311 Green Colleges from The Princeton Review. The list profiles 308 colleges in the U.S. and three in Canada and was developed with help from the U.S. Green Building Council, the people behind the LEED green building certification program.

The list, compiled in a survey, highlights institutions of higher learning that are committed to the concept of sustainability --- balancing the environment, the economy and society. Notice how I listed the environment first.

The list includes schools "that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation." Which makes me wonder, how many students these days consider a school's green-ness when deciding where to go to college? Is the choice based on degrees offered, and also on degrees of environmental responsibility? A list of schools by state doesn't include UIS, but does include other U. of Illinois campuses. Whew.

The Princeton green colleges list also includes highlights from each of the schools, and stats on everything from renewable energy use to the availability of environmental studies programs. The U.S. Green Building Council partnered with the Princeton Review as part of its Center for Green Schools, which is aimed at increasing "efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed, and operated."

After all, colleges are training the leaders of tomorrow. Shouldn't they be setting the example? Shouldn't there be more than 311 schools on the list? Is yours? You can download a pdf version here.