All three share environmental focus, small size, fossil fuel divestment, New England location
BAR HARBOR, Maine and POULTNEY, Vt. and CRAFTSBURY COMMON, Vt., Aug. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — A new ranking of environmentally-focused colleges reveals that New England is home to the greenest colleges in the nation.
College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, and Sterling College were awarded the top three spots in Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools,” the recently released ranking of the greenest colleges and universities in the U.S. The Cool Schools ranking is among the most well-known and prestigious sustainability rankings in higher education. The rankings recognize the colleges’ commitment to sustainability, which encompasses academics, research, operations, and engagement.
“We applaud this year’s top three schools — the College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, and Sterling College — for their outstanding and continued commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said Sierra‘s Editor in Chief Jason Mark. “Each of the three schools was recognized for both their individual achievements in clean energy, green curriculum, and sustainable food, respectively, as well as for their overall performance. It is their leadership, and the leadership of all schools ranked this year, that is helping to drive a positive change in both the classroom and beyond.”
Sierra, the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its eleventh annual “Cool Schools” ranking on August 22 of America’s most environmentally-minded colleges and universities. Out of a possible 1000 points, College of the Atlantic (#1) finished with a score of 779.58, Green Mountain College (#2) finished with a score of 745.80, and Sterling College (#3) finished with a score of 739.98. Over 200 colleges and universities were ranked.
“It’s no coincidence that these three great institutions were among the very first campuses to divest from fossil fuels–that’s a bottom-line requirement for environmental distinction, and a sign as well that they know how to do well by doing good,” said author and environmental activist Bill McKibben. “Such congratulations!”
However, the colleges have more than just fossil fuel divestment in common. All three are purposefully small, with undergraduate enrollments of under 1000 students.
“In the new millennium, concerns for the environment must be wedded to social justice and be central to everything we do,” said College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92. “Our students will lead the way in this effort, and the more they are directly involved with the hard work of creating sustainable campuses and communities, the more they can gain the skills and confidence to create the future we all deserve.”
All have liberal arts curricula centered on the environment and sustainability. “This is a generation of students that understands the perils facing the planet and our climate, and want an education that prepares them to boldly respond to these challenges,” said Sterling College President Matthew Derr. “We are squarely focused on reshaping the human relationship with the natural world, as it is one of the most critical issues facing humanity today.”
And all three are located in northern New England, with College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, Green Mountain College at the foot of the Taconic Mountains in Vermont, and Sterling College just 35 miles from the Canadian border, also in Vermont. “For more than 20 years Green Mountain College has led the way in field-based, interdisciplinary and service-oriented environmental education,” said Green Mountain College President Bob Allen. “Our students are engaged citizens ready to tackle complicated, multi-faceted issues in their local communities and globally.”
The full list of colleges and universities can be found at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.