For the second consecutive year, Centre College has been named one of the country’s greenest colleges by The Princeton Review and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In the 2011The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges, Centre is among a number of colleges and universities profiled for their “eco-friendly campuses” and commitment to “living and learning Green.”
“There is a rising interest among students in attending colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally responsible choices,” the authors of the Guide to 286 Green Collegeswrite. “Clearly the green movement on college campuses is far more than a passing fad.”
For the book, the authors took a quantitative and qualitative look at each of the profiled school’s sustainability efforts. They evaluated three areas deemed most important to students: whether students have a “campus quality of life that is both healthy and sustainable,” how well a school is preparing students for “employment in the green economy” and how environmentally responsible a school’s policies are.
“All of the schools in this book,” the authors write, “are exemplary green institutions with models to follow.”
In the profile of Centre, the Guide to 286 Green Colleges listed several of the College’s green highlights. “Leadership is part of Centre College’s institutional DNA,” the profile begins. “It’s no wonder that Centre College was among the first U.S. higher education institutions to make a public commitment to sustainability.”
The profile points out the fact that Centre focuses its sustainability efforts in three key areas: building practices, energy conservation and waste minimization.
In terms of sustainable building efforts, Centre has established a policy that all new campus buildings will be built to, at minimum, LEED Silver standards. (The USGBC, which teamed with The Princeton Review for the guidebook, is responsible for the industry standard LEED Green Building Certification.)
Centre’s Pearl Hall, which was completed in 2008, was certified LEED Gold for its environmentally friendly design and construction in 2009. This was Kentucky’s first LEED Gold certification, as well as the highest LEED rating for any residential facility in the state. The renovation of the College’s Norton Center for the Arts has also been LEED-qualified; while the College has not applied for official LEED certification, the U.S. Green Building Council has indicated that the renovation to the building had sufficient green features to qualify for recognition.
The Centre profile in the Guide to 286 Green Colleges also mentions the student-initiated Green Fund, which was enacted in 2007 and requires students to pay an annual $20 surcharge on their tuition to purchase renewable energy credits from the nearby Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Plant. The Green Fund “subsidizes an amount of clean energy equal to 25 percent of the station’s entire energy output,” the guide says.
Waste management efforts at Centre, the writers continue, include a campus-wide recycling program, participation in RecycleMania (a 10-week, friendly competition among colleges and universities to promote waste reduction activities) and use of reusable drink containers. “Green” research opportunities are plentiful, the authors add, and “recent student-faculty collaborative research topics have included endangered native plants, animal behavior and environmental chemistry.” The profile also mentions the Environmentally Conscious Centre Organization (ECCO), a student group that promotes “energy and materials conservation and the pursuit of sustainable practices” on campus.