College campuses are often the breeding grounds for great ideas and movements, including the green movement. Many universities throughout the United States are taking the initiative to lessen their carbon footprint by reducing energy use and waste.
According to the annual College Sustainability Report which assesses two hundred universities receiving the largest endowment assets, two in three colleges improved their performance. Those receiving the highest marks were Harvard, Dartmouth and the University of Washington. Results from the study showed that about half of the colleges were using high-performance green building standards for new buildings, serving fair trade coffee or locally grown food, and cutting carbon emissions to help fight global warming.
Global warming is a cause we should all be familiar with by now. As an effort to stop global warming, about 500 colleges and universities in the United States have signed the American College and University Presidents Commitment (ACUP). Schools involved in this agreement plan to go ‘carbon neutral’ within two years of signing, meaning they will contribute no net greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Other terms of the agreement include implementing at least two policies that can be acted on right away. Examples include:
- Waste minimization
- Recycling programs
- Reducing energy use
- Public transportation
- Green building guidelines
Colleges are also making strides to be greener in the cafeteria. Imagine how much food and gallons of water are consumed in the dorms and dining halls alone! Several universities are devoting a portion of their food budgets to buying locally produced food.
According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, most of the 3,800 college institutions in the U.S. are practicing water conservation in some method, whether through low-water-volume toilets or low flow shower heads.