The Oregonian: Portland State, Lewis & Clark named among 23 'Green Rating Honor Roll' colleges nationwide
Author: Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian
Posted: August 5, 2014

Read the original story in The Oregonian here.

Portland State University and Lewis & Clark College, both in Portland, were named this week among the 23 "greenest" colleges in the nation, with top-tier efforts to help students learn about and live out environmentally sustainable practices.

The list was compiled by college guide publisher Princeton Review based on survey data it collected from nearly 900 colleges, looking at academic majors, energy use on campus, recycling, bike and transit promotion programs and the like.

Robert Franek, a senior vice president at the review, said in a statement that the universities that made the green honor roll "demonstrated truly exceptional commitments to sustainability across key issues we looked at from course offerings and recycling programs to plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Only two states, New York and California, had more colleges make the list than Oregon did. Only one Washington college, the University of Washington, made the cut. The review included on Canadian university, University of Victoria, bringing the total number of colleges on the list to 24.

Portland State officials said it was a big deal for PSU to make the list.

"This ranking is another acknowledgement that we're not just talking about sustainability, we're living it, teaching it, and promoting it," PSU President Wim Wiewel said in a statement.

Portland State now requires students pursuing many degrees to prove they know about or practice sustainability, officials said. It also tracks use of local and organic food in campus dining outlets, uses renewable energy generated on campus, has lowered its overall energy consumption and promotes low-carbon transportation via bicycle infrastructure and subsidized mass transit, they said.

Lewis & Clark also puts a premium on being a "green" school. It requires all new buildings to be LEED Gold certified, and 100 percent of the school's electricity is generated by "green power" sources, officials said.

This fall, Lewis & Clark will help host a national conference in Portland devoted to promoting sustainability in higher education.

The Princeton Review write-up of Lewis & Clark includes the following information:

Lewis & Clark has reduced greenhouse emissions by more than 30 percent since 2006. Lewis & Clark's location in the green mecca of Portland provides students with an abundance of opportunities to work with and learn from environmentally conscious organizations on and off campus. About a quarter of the food served on campus is grown within 100 miles of the school. Lewis & Clark works to help students get around by bike. Its student bike-sharing program, funded by the school's "Green Fee Fund," gives students access to bikes, safety gear and training. In addition, the college has started installing bike repair stations around campus for when students need a quick bolt tightening or tire pump. The school's latest construction, the LEED-certified Holmes Hall, has a free electric vehicle charging station. 

The Princeton Review write-up of PSU's green practices includes the following information:

"The Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science is home to globally recognized transportation researchers and a Green Building Research Lab. The College of Urban & Public Affairs continues to push the leading edge of sustainable urban development. As a national leader in community-based learning, PSU puts students to work solving neighborhood-scale sustainability problems, and its campus -- home to eight LEED-certified buildings -- is a living lab, testing everything from ecoroofs to district-scale energy systems. Students can apply their learning in the real world with a Senior Capstone course, turn ideas into action with a Solutions Generator grant, and pursue a graduate certificate in sustainability. PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions serves as a hub for supporting student leadership training, cross-disciplinary research, and a curriculum that prepares students for change-making careers."

-- Betsy Hammond