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WKU ranked among nation’s ‘green colleges’ for third consecutive year

As the nation and the community gear up to celebrate Earth Day, WKU has been ranked among the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges” for the third consecutive year.

WKU is one of three universities in Kentucky listed in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” The Princeton Review, in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), released the third annual edition of its guidebook Tuesday.

The guidebook profiles 322 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

“To make the Princeton Review Green Guide, a college must score in the 83rd percentile or above. That’s pretty good, but not good enough for Hilltoppers,” Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan-Downing said. “We’re striving for the 99th percentile or above, and if we continue at the rate we’re going, we’re pretty confident we can make it.”

Ryan-Downing said recent accomplishments to WKU improve its status as a “green campus” include the following:

  • Received gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for Gary A. Ransdell Hall, the second highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. WKU is committed to building to LEED standards in all new campus construction and renovation, including Music Hall which opened in January.
  • Established a Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities and the sustainability concentration in the MBA program.
  • Reduced campus waste and increased reuse of equipment and materials through the creation of the “Topper Trader” online catalog of surplus items available for reuse on campus and through a partnership with Connect Kentucky, the non-profit organization that takes used computers and provides them to people who need them.

The 232-page book — the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges — can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide. Northern Kentucky University and University of Louisville also are included in this year’s edition.

The Princeton Review, well known for its education and test-prep services, created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 in collaboration with USGBC, which is best-known for developing the LEED green building rating system. In 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

Contact: Christian Ryan-Downing, (270) 745-2508.

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