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How to Find an Eco-Friendly Campus

This is the time of year where universities are bombarded with high school juniors and seniors looking into the universities they want to apply to or have already been accepted to. Parents and students alike come prepared with tons of questions to ask campus representatives. One question that previous representatives haven’t had to prepare was the sustainability question: Is your campus a green campus?

The leaders of tomorrow have realized they’re inheriting a world that needs a major facelift in the environmental department. In fact, according to a 2006 MTV/CBS poll, most Americans aged 13-24 think environmental degradation will be the biggest challenge their generation will face. A huge chunk of that population is now looking into a collegiate career. Being an eco friendly campus has developed from a mere afterthought to a very important aspect in recruiting students.

The green campuses that are taking hold of this trend have recognized there is a difference between having recycling bins outside classrooms and a full-fledged sustainability campus initiative.

What are some tips that colleges have learned from readings and studies? When looking for an eco friendly campus, take these into consideration…
* Both the visible and non-visible evidence that a campus is a green campus is essential, but not necessarily equal. Studies have shown potential students look for visual proof of an eco friendly campus. However, it is just as important to highlight the invisible green efforts produced by the school like carbon footprint reduction measures.

* Digging below the surface of what is seen at a campus visitation is important – colleges have educated their staff to know all the environmental issues their school has prevented or been a part of, so make sure to ask them!

Here are some questions to ask representatives about how green their campus is. The following questions were put together by the research of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a group who recently published the book “Accelerating Campus Climate Initiatives”.
* Has the college signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment?

* Are they completing or have they completed a carbon inventory?

* Have they developed an actionable sustainability plan?

* Does the school have any achievements or recognizable qualities for environmental commitment?

Remember, if the campus reps for the green campus initiatives don’t know the answers to those questions, ask someone else! Making sure your university is a green university will not only help your generation take what they were given and turn it into something better, but make a mark for future generations to enjoy Mother Earth.