For the 11th consecutive year, Virginia Tech has been recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the top green colleges in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, coming in at No. 34.

The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability across campus infrastructure, academics, career preparation, and more. 

After surveying and assessing nearly 700 colleges, The Princeton Review selected 416 colleges to feature. Such factors as sustainability related policies and practices, along with campus initiatives and academic offerings, were considered. More than 25 survey data points were analyzed by editors to tally Green Rating scores on a scale of 60 to 99. Colleges that earned a Green Rating of 80 or higher made it into the guide.

Virginia Tech earned a green rating of 97 out of 99 (the same score as 2020), with the guide underscoring Virginia Tech’s most prominent sustainability efforts and initiatives throughout the year.

The guide highlighted the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and its ongoing revision and renewal process. The proposed updates ambitiously build upon a decade of university sustainability efforts and aim to guide Virginia Tech toward a greener, more sustainable future.

The recommendations are the culmination of a yearlong collaborative effort led by Professor Emeritus John Randolph and a working group of 26 faculty, students, and community members. An update on the review process will be presented to the Board of Visitors in March 2021, along with a resolution to approve the Climate Action Commitment.

Central to Virginia Tech’s inclusion in the Green Colleges Guide is its exceptional Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS) rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education which measures sustainability in all aspects of higher education. It is the most recognized framework for reporting university sustainability performance across academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, innovation, and leadership. 

“The Princeton Review process uses STARS data to help determine their ratings, so it’s a huge benefit for us to keep our STARS up-to-date. We are on-track to submit our latest STARS report in January — a direct reflection of the incredible team efforts to advance sustainability throughout the university,” said Nathan King, sustainability program manager.

Additional Virginia Tech sustainability achievements emphasized in the Green Colleges Guide are Dining Services’ efforts and collaboration at Homefield Farm; the intentional integration of sustainability concepts into nearly 750 courses and 33 majors; the 36 LEED-certified buildings already constructed or in progress across Virginia Tech campuses; and the award-winning Office of Sustainability Internship Program.

Student engagement in these sustainability efforts and others are also key Green Colleges Guide ranking contributors.

From the Sustainability Internship Program to the Green RFP Program where students can submit sustainability projects to be implemented on campus, to the student-assisted Green Office Certification Program, and more, there are rich opportunities for students to get involved in sustainability at Virginia Tech.

Click here to learn more about these programs on the Office of Sustainability website.

— Written by Christy Myers

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