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Monday, April 19, 2010

SU Named Among Nation's 'Greenest' Colleges

SALISBURY, MD---The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, has named Salisbury University one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges.

The University is featured in the inaugural Guide to 286 Green Colleges, a new free resource for college applicants that highlights impressive environmental and sustainability programs at campuses across the country.

“I am honored that Salisbury University is recognized in this first edition for our strong commitment to sustainability,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach, who signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007.  “Our Teacher Education and Technology Center was the first—and right now only—new construction project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.  The University is pursuing silver-level status, and in some cases gold, for all new facilities.  I’m grateful for the ongoing and unwavering dedication that SU students, faculty and staff have to protecting the environment.”

Published just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, the guide is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide.  Data examined include institutional commitment to LEED building certification, environmental literacy programs, formal sustainability committees, use of renewable energy resources, recycling and conservation programs, and more.

The 286 colleges were selected based on “green rating” scores they received in summer 2009 in The Princeton Review’s online profiles and annual guidebooks.  SU received a rating of 88 (on a scale of 60-99) in The Princeton Review’s Best 371 Colleges.  All of the campuses were rated in the 80th percentile or higher.

“Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review.  “According to our recent College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it.  We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions like Salisbury University focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”

“Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president and CEO.  “Green facilities make colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs.  Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities.”

From a 30-year-old recycling program to a more recent electricity- and water-saving partnership with Pepco Energy Services, being “green” is not new at SU.  The University earned the Maryland Department of Natural Resources “People Loving and Nurturing Trees” (PLANT) award for its tree-friendly campus, which is a national arboretum and home to student-planted wildlife, rain and vegetable gardens.

Students use Mac-Gray’s high-efficiency laundry units, which SU was the first university in the nation to install in residence halls campuswide.  They may also opt to live on a “green” floor dedicated to environmentally friendly living.

In the classroom, environmental issues majors are learning from award-winning environmental writer Tom Horton and former U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, who championed Chesapeake Bay issues.  Biology and business faculty have studied forest growth locally and in the Amazon thanks to more than $1 million in National Science Foundation and Nature Conservancy grants.

Other “green” initiatives are detailed in the campus’ recently unveiled climate action plan, which outlines steps to reaching a goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To download the Guide to 286 Green Colleges visit www.princetonreview.com/greenguide or www.usgbc.org/campus.  For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.



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