UC Riverside was recently named among the Top 50 Green Colleges by the Princeton Review; ranking No. 16 among public universities and No. 48 overall in the nation.
The Top 50 list is chosen from school-reported data and student opinions collected from online surveys. The survey questions canvass whether students experience a healthy, sustainable quality of life; how well the university is preparing students for “green” jobs; and the school’s environmental policies.
“This recognition shows the progress that UCR has made in relation to sustainability initiatives on campus,” said Fortino Morales, UCR’s sustainability officer. “It’s important to note that they require the passion and effort of the entire campus to achieve, from students concerned about climate change, to staff who are working every day to make the campus better, and to faculty who share their knowledge and insights.”
UCR has won green accolades in the past. In 2016, The Sierra Club ranked UCR No. 27 among 201 universities on its “Cool Schools” green-friendly list, and No. 35 of 227 universities in 2017. The campus was No. 16 on a list among the nation’s most environmentally friendly campuses in a ranking in the GreenMetric World University Rankings 2018, conducted by Universitas Indonesia.
In the past few years, UCR’s green projects included placing 9,600 solar panels in parking lots 30 and 32 on campus, providing 6.9 million kilowatt-hours of energy over a 13-month period. It also achieved an LEED Platinum designation for the new Multidisciplinary Building.
Director of Agricultural Operations Peggy Mauk also pointed to the efforts of UC Riverside’s R’Garden, which supplied 20,000 pounds of produce to the campus community during the pandemic. “UCR’s efforts are paying dividends,” she said.
The University of California announced in 2013 that it aims for 100% reliance on clean electricity supplies across its campuses and medical centers by 2025 — the same year it has pledged to become operationally carbon neutral.
The 10-campus system said it would meet those goals with clean energy, green building design, sustainable procurement, and waste reduction.
On Oct. 21, the UC Office of the President announced it is nearly halfway toward its carbon neutrality goal. The announcement came with construction of two large-scale solar energy projects that will generate renewable electricity for all 10 campuses.
“Out of the nearly 700 schools we considered for this project, the Top 50 Green Colleges are, in our opinion, truly up to the task of training the next generation of leaders, who will be responsible for putting green ideas into practice,” the Princeton Review top 50 report reads. Princeton Review editor Rob Franek added: “We recommend them highly to all students seeking to live and learn at a green college.”
The Princeton Review publishes a companion list to the Top 50 listing 416 universities. Between 125 to 370 students complete the surveys on each campus.
The Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, is a tutoring, test prep, and college admission services company.