WORCESTER, Mass. – April 22, 2011 – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The nationally known education services company included WPI for a second year in a row in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges.
Published just in time for the 41st anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), the Green Guide is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide. Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the free publication, which was first released last year, is the only comprehensive guidebook focused on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the 311 schools included in its new guide based on “Green Rating” scores that it added to the online or annual college guidebook profiles for 703 schools in summer 2010. Only the 311 schools scoring in the 80th or higher percentile are included in the guide; they are not ranked. For WPI, this recognition highlights the university’s many environmental initiatives.
“WPI has a strong commitment to sustainability, and I am proud that the university’s many accomplishments in this area have been recognized by The Princeton Review in its annual Green Guide,” said WPI President and CEO Dennis Berkey. “This dedication is demonstrated on campus through infrastructure initiatives, educational programs, and campus activities, and even through our dining options. What’s more, WPI students apply their skills and knowledge to help the earth and its global community through the hundreds of sustainability-related projects that they complete each year around the world.”
A driving force behind the many green initiatives being taken at WPI is the President’s Task Force on Sustainability, which promotes a sustainability sensibility in academic, research, and administrative endeavors at WPI. The influence of this task force can be seen throughout all of WPI’s campus infrastructure—from energy consumption to ensuring the way the university’s new buildings are designed and constructed. Through many initiatives, the university has made concerted, successful efforts to drive home that “sustainability sensibility.”
“A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments, all while saving energy, water, and money as part of an institution’s bottom line,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of USGBC.
WPI is no stranger to the USGBC; in February 2007 the Board of Trustees voted to adopt a policy calling for all future buildings on campus to be environmentally friendly and to achieve USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Most remarkably, East Hall—the newest residence hall at WPI, which sports Worcester’s first “living green roof”—has received LEED Gold certification, while the university’s admissions building, the Bartlett Center, was the first LEED-certified building in Worcester. Presently, WPI is constructing a state-of-the-art sports and recreation center, whose design boasts many sustainable features that are expected to meet LEED certification.
Other examples of the university’s commitment to sustainability can be found in the expansion of the campuses recycling program, which now includes aluminum, glass, and plastic returnable and non-returnable containers, and the use of local suppliers in all of its dining facilities, when possible. (Currently, 27 percent of the food WPI serves is locally produced and organic.) The university also provides Fair Trade-certified coffee, cage-free eggs, and sustainable fish species; and the dining halls are trayless. Food scraps are donated to a local hog farm, further reducing waste.
Energy consumption at WPI has decreased over the past few years since the university switched from oil to gas in its main power plant, and has been trimmed even more by the use of timers and an energy management system as well as a substantial reduction of incandescent lighting. The university reduces carbon emissions from transportation by participating in a Colleges of Worcester Consortium bus system and operating a van service for students. WPI partners with Zipcar, an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping a car on campus; a bicycle storage area is included in East Hall.
Academically, WPI offers a bachelor of arts program in environmental and sustainability studies. The major is designed to educate future environmental professionals with the knowledge and skills that will cross boundaries and foster thought leadership in this important area. In addition, WPI offers an environmental engineering major, and the university’s commitment to sustainability can be seen in the project work being done by thousands of WPI students and professors at sites around the globe.
“Together with the USGBC, we are pleased to make this resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges like Worcester Polytechnic Institute that practice, teach, and support environmentally responsible choices,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher. “We highly recommend the colleges in this book.”
About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for more than 28 years through college and graduate school test preparation and private tutoring. With more than 165 print and digital publications and a free website (www.PrincetonReview.com), the company provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for higher education. The Princeton Review partners with schools and guidance counselors throughout the U.S. to assist in college readiness, test preparation and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education. It also owns and operates Penn Foster Education Group, a global leader in online education. Penn Foster provides career-focused degree and vocational programs in the fields of allied health, business, technology, education, and select trades through the Penn Foster High School and Penn Foster Career School, which are headquartered in Scranton, Penn.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,500 member companies and organizations, and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion in U.S. gross domestic product from 2009 to 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, teachers and students. Building in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent of water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green buildings has the potential to generate 2.5 million jobs in America.
About Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. WPI's 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, materials processing, and nanotechnology. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Projects Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.