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Berea among nation’s greenest colleges: Princeton Review, USGBC

April 27: Berea College is one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The nationally known education services company selected Berea for inclusion in a unique resource it has created for college applicants – “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.”

Princeton Review and USGBC rank Berea among greenest campuses.

Berea was cited for “a commitment to sustainability on all levels” that most recently includes being named a "2009 Tree Campus USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation for its tree care and grounds keeping, which is 80% organic. Other notable accomplishments are more than $100 million worth of campus renovations using green building standards, including energy-related retrofitting of over half of the buildings on campus; the Ecovillage, Berea’s residential and learning complex where student families learn and practice sustainable living; sustainability-focused academic programs in several departments; and Berea’s Local Foods Initiative, among others.

Developed by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is the first free, comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an above-average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.

The Guide – which is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide – 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 much more.

“Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher, The Princeton Review.

“According to our recent College Hope & Worries Survey, 64% of college applicants and their parents 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 like Berea College focus on environmental responsibility so that 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, 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 unique 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,” commented Franek.

“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.”

How the Schools were chosen:
The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the Guide based on the “Green Rating” scores the schools received in summer 2009 when The Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks.

The Princeton Review’s “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60 – 99 that’s based on several data points. In 2008, The Princeton Review began collaborating with USGBC to help make the Green Rating survey questions as comprehensive and inclusive as possible.

Of 697 schools that The Princeton Review gave “Green Ratings” to in 2009, the 286 schools in the Guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile. The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this book hierarchically (1 to 286) or in any of its books based on their “Green Rating” scores.

Berea, the South’s first interracial and coeducational college, focuses on learning, labor, and service. Berea charges no tuition, admitting only academically promising students, primarily from Appalachia, who have limited economic resources. All students must work 10 hours weekly, earning money for books, room and board.

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