Georgia Southern’s sustainability efforts featured in The Princeton Review’s ‘Guide to 361 Green Colleges: 2016 Edition’
For the sixth year in a row, Georgia Southern University is listed among The Princeton Review’s Guide to 361 Green Colleges, which recognizes the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges.
The Princeton Review chose the schools for this seventh annual edition of its “green guide” based on data from the company’s 2015-16 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges across the U.S. Georgia Southern’s most recent sustainability efforts include solar-powered utility cart charging stations, bottle-filling stations in multiple campus locations, tree plantings, bioswale enhancements, Eagle Creek rehabilitation and more.
Lissa Leege, director of the Center for Sustainability at the University, says the great work is the result of hard work, and students’ willingness to contribute to these efforts through sustainability fees.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for our commitment to sustainability again this year as we know how critical it is for universities to model sustainable behavior for the broader community and for our students who will go on to make important decisions in the future,” said Leege. “Georgia Southern’s success in sustainability is thanks to a great team of faculty, staff and students working to make our facilities greener, providing sustainability education and research opportunities, and helping to implement changes that make it easier to make sustainable choices.”
In addition, the University offers a concentration in Environmental Sustainability and an online Sustainability Advisor Certificate, and the Center for Sustainability has taken the lead to promote engaging and inspiring programs and education resources for the campus and local communities. The Center partners with a variety of departments, including biology, health, kinesiology, and the offices of Leadership and Community Engagement and Wellness, which strengthens Georgia Southern’s commitment to produce and support sustainable solutions that reduce negative impacts on the environment.
The $10 student sustainability fees, approved in fall 2012 by a 75 percent student majority vote and approved by the Board of Regents in April 2013, have provided grants for advances across the campus. These funds have not only provided the funds for valuable sustainability projects, they have also allowed the Center to sponsor the Green Eagle Awards to recognize proven leaders on campus, educational opportunities to raise awareness for students, and “No Impact Week,” to raise awareness campus-wide. Other campus activities include a farmer’s market, a pallet challenge, RecycleMania, a campus garden and composting, tailgate recycling and residence hall recycling incentive programs, and Solo® cup recycling.
The Center also sponsors community-wide events to raise sustainability awareness in Statesboro and Bulloch County. In October, the Center hosted GreenFest on the courthouse lawn in Statesboro, which featured more than 40 vendors and exhibitors and a varied schedule of workshops, and activities for all ages. On Nov. 7, the Center will host the Environmental Community Cinema showcasing the award-winning documentary “Tapped.” Other programs include an after-school garden program, a partnership with Bulloch County Parks and Recreation.
“We strongly recommend Georgia Southern University and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said The Princeton Review’s Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher.
Franek noted the growing interest the company has seen among college-bound students in green colleges. “Among more than 10,000 teens and parents who participated in our 2016 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.” (A complete report on that survey is at www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries.)
The profiles in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 361 Green Colleges provide information about each school’s admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body stats. They also include “Green Facts” about the schools with details on the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.