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PSU reaches green pinnacle in college ranking with Princeton Review
Author: Christina Williams
Posted: August 8, 2013

Portland State University this week was named to the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll in the 2014 Guide to Best Colleges. PSU achieved the highest possible score on the sixth annual “Green Ratings" of colleges—a rigorous ranking of environmentally friendly attributes of campuses across the nation.

While PSU has ranked among Princeton Review’s Best Green Colleges ranking for four years running, this is the first year that the university has joined the 22 universities listed on the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll. Universities are ranked by how well they deliver a healthy and sustainable campus life, how well they prepare students to work and live in a world affected by environmental changes and how well campuses walk the talk with their internal environmental policies.

“Our honor roll ranking recognizes that PSU prepares students to live and work sustainably, and they will make a difference in the world,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. 

PSU’s Climate Action Plan, with a goal of achieving net-zero by 2040, is just one of the factors considered by Princeton Review in its ranking, which awarded 99 out of 99 possible points. Areas of improvement that boosted Portland State’s overall score included an increased number of majors with sustainability-related learning outcomes required; better tracking and reporting by dining services about the purchase of local and certified organic food; more renewable energy generated on campus with some 38,000 kilowatt hours generated annually; better efficiencies reducing the overall energy consumed on campus; and an increase in options for keeping waste out of the landfill. 

Portland State also shines in the rankings for its array of low-carbon transportation options including bicycle infrastructure—the VikeBikes program offers inexpensive bikes for students—and subsidized mass transit. During the 2012 fiscal year, PSU reported 2 metric tons of carbon equivalent per student—the lowest rate in the Oregon University System and in the 10th percentile compared to similar institutions nationwide.

“The Campus Sustainability Office has committed partners across campus who help us achieve this honor and work on an ongoing basis to ensure that we can reach our ambitious goals to reduce our collective climate impact,” said Jenny MacNamara, campus sustainability manager for PSU. 

The Campus Sustainability Office released a report last month charting progress on the Climate Action Plan.

PSU in June received a 2013 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature, a national honor recognizing innovation in sustainability education and operations.