UNH Named One Of Sierra Magazine's Top "Coolest Schools"

Thursday, August 16, 2012
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The University of New Hampshire made the top 10 list of campuses in Sierra magazine’s sixth annual ranking of the nation’s “Coolest Schools,” a salute to U.S. colleges that are helping solve climate problems and making significant efforts to operate sustainably. UNH ranked sixth alongside other schools like the University of California, Davis, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University. The other New England institutions making the top 10 include the University of Connecticut and Yale University.

The complete ranking, along with stories about the winning schools’ environmental efforts, are online at www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.

“We are honored by the Sierra Club’s recognition,” said Tom Kelly, UNH chief sustainability officer and founding director of the university’s endowed sustainability program, the Sustainability Institute. “Sustainability is a core value of UNH. It shapes our culture, informs our behavior, and is a guiding principle of all we do. We look forward to expanding this commitment with faculty, staff, students, and our many community partners over the course of the next year.”

While researching the schools that are making a difference for the planet, Sierra found common among the top 10 major actions taken toward improving sustainability across many realms, including energy sourcing, infrastructure, transportation, and academics. In addition, substantial efforts are being made to meticulously quantify efforts to attain campus environmental goals.

“Over the last six years, Sierra has been privileged to connect with and learn from traditional institutions evolving in nontraditional ways,” said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine’s editor-in-chief. “With their ever growing emphasis on environmental responsibility, these schools are channeling the enthusiasm of their students, who consistently cite climate disruption and other environmental issues as the most serious challenges their generation must confront, while demonstrating leadership for other civic institutions.”

UNH female student feeds calf with a bottle

UNH’s Organic Dairy Research Farm was the first such facility at a land-grant university in the U.S.; it provides research to New England farmers and training to UNH students. In addition to a milking Jersey herd, the farm is managed as an integrated agro-ecosystem, providing a platform for research across many disciplines.

Participation in Sierra magazine's Cool Schools ranking is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States. This year, campus administrators could participate by going to stars.aashe.org to complete an extensive questionnaire about their school's sustainability practices. The survey, officially called the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, is the result of the collaborative efforts of four organizations: the Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), and the Princeton Review. Its questions center on measurable environmental goals and achievements, with priority given to achievements.

Sierra is the official publication of the Sierra Club, America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1.4 million members and supporters nationwide. The Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, please visit www.sierramagazine.com

Originally published by:

UNH Media Relations

Magazine cover courtesy of Sierra Club and Sierra Magazine. Calf photo by UNH Photographic Services.