The Campus Environment in 2008

NWF   |   August 25, 2008

In case you missed all the hullabaloo, let me direct you to our newest report: Campus Environment 2008: A National Report Card on Sustainability. It recognizes colleges and universities for exemplary efforts and
awards academic letter grades (A through D) for collective, national
performance on environmental literacy, energy, water, transportation,
landscaping, waste reduction and more.

Methodology: In partnership with Princeton Research Survey Associates, we sent surveys to Presidents’ and Deans’ offices at practically every institution of higher education in the country. We got responses back from 1,068 schools, more than a quarter of American colleges and universities, and compiled them to track trends and new developments in environmental performance and sustainability. We last did this study in 2001, and have noticed some interesting changes between then and now.

Results: Essentially, when it comes to school management, American colleges are showing greener overall leadership than they did in 2001. Our research revealed that management generally values environmental, social and economic sustainability and is putting systems in place to broaden and sustain engagement campus-wide. Indicators of this commitment include increased goal-setting to improve performance, more staffing for sustainability programs, and a rise in orientation programs on waste reduction and other sustainability efforts on campus. However, sustainability initiatives still face roadblocks such as inadequate funding and support for faculty development.

Strangely, this commitment to sustainability in day-to-day operations is not quite as visible in academics, the place where one might expect universities to shine. Sustainability-related education offerings and recruitment programs have declined since 2001, as have faculty doing environmental and sustainability research.

To see more, or check the results for an individual school, download the full report here.

Published: August 25, 2008