Sierra Cool Schools logo 2021 with UNH sustainability bus and students on campus

Sierra Club’s national magazine, Sierra, released its fifteenth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of North America’s greenest colleges and universities. The University of New Hampshire is honored to again be in the top 20, ranked 9th among a record-breaking 328 schools across the United States and Canada who submitted to this year’s ranking.

UNH is home of the nation’s first endowed university sustainability institute and has continued to deepen its more than two-decade commitment to sustainability through partnerships on campus and in our communities, serving as a model “sustainable learning community”.

UNH is proud to be among this distinguished group of colleges and universities ranked in Sierra’s top 20, all of whom have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to addressing climate change, protecting the natural world, and encouraging environmental responsibility both through their campus operations and course curricula. 

Katie O'Reilly, Sierra's lifestyle and adventure editor noted: "In the past 15 years, Cool Schools has evolved dramatically—we used to hear about light-green initiatives like double-sided printing and Earth Day parties. Today, schools have dedicated sustainability professionals who innovate pathways toward audacious zero-carbon and zero-waste and circular goals".

Eddie Junsay, Youth Leadership Director of the Sierra Club also noted: “School campuses play an important role providing the environment for students to collectively develop their political analysis and learn how to advocate for the world they want to see. This issue is a chance for schools to heed the calls of their students to be leaders for climate and social justice.”

Recent UNH initiatives showcased by Sierra Club in this year’s ranking include the B Impact Clinic, which trains UNH students in B Corp certification methodology and matches them with local companies to help them evaluate and improve their sustainability practices, as well as become and stay certified. Sierra Club also highlighted that this year UNH will unveil a parallel program, the Carbon Clinic, through which students will use UNH’s  Sustainability Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP), a tool developed by UNH and now used in more than 500 colleges nationwide for carbon accounting, to help businesses and other local entities conduct GHG inventories and develop climate action plans.

Other highlights called out by the Sierra Club include UNH’s recently released new “WildCAP” climate action plan, and the new university-wide Sustainability Awards, designed to honor and fund students, staff and faculty.

The full ranking of 328 colleges and universities is online at 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit