UCR Once Again Named to Sierra Magazine Cool Schools List

Annual survey recognizes schools that have shown highest level of commitment to Earth-saving decisions


UC Riverside’s R’Garden, a student-founded community garden located near Lot 30, is expected to begin producing fruits and vegetables for campus restaurants. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — For the second year in a row, the University of California, Riverside has made Sierra Magazine’s list of  “America’s Coolest Schools” as part of their seventh annual survey of the nation’s greenest colleges.

UCR’s score was 504.59 out of a possible 1,000 points and included a perfect score in sustainability planning as well as improvements in the areas of co-curricular activity focused on sustainability, sustainable food, sustainability focused research, and transportation.

The survey is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States that submit an extensive questionnaire through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

“We are thrilled to once again be included in Sierra Magazine’s Cool Schools survey, and even happier to see a 69% increase in the number of schools participating, including all the University of California undergraduate campuses,” said UCR Director of Sustainability John Cook. “This is our second year to be included in the rankings, so we still have work to do, but we expect to move up next year given the sustainability initiatives underway.”

Overall, UCR was 102nd of the 162 schools ranked. Last year UCR finished 58th among the 96 ranked schools with a total of 462.74 points out of a possible 894.50.

According to the survey methodology on the Sierra Magazine website, the survey ranking “is an index that provides fair, comparative information about the most important elements of campus sustainability. The results suggest that while many universities are making admirable progress, no school has yet attained complete sustainability. The top-rated university scored 850 (out of a possible 1,000 points), indicating much work completed and also room for improvement.”

Cook said that UCR will continue to develop its sustainability programs, including water action, integrated waste diversion and clean energy plans.

“Our primary goal is to take a holistic approach to applying sustainable principals across the campus,” he said. “In the coming months, you can expect to see more bottle filling stations, solar panels and fresh produce from the R’Garden in campus dining facilities.

Cook said that more and more students are looking at sustainability and other environmental issues when they choose what college to attend.

“It makes a difference,” he said. “Surveys show that about two-thirds of students looking at colleges consider the schools’ sustainability practices and environmental record. It is becoming part of the cultural foundation of the top universities in this nation.”

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Office of Sustainability
Tel: (951) 827-1270
E-mail: sustain@ucr.edu

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