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Penn Honored in Newly Published ‘Guide to 286 Green Colleges’
April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31

The University of Pennsylvania has been acknowledged as one of the country’s most environmentally responsible schools, according to The Princeton Review, which partnered with the US Green Building Council to create The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.

The guide is the first freecomprehensive college guidebook to focus solely on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above-average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.  It is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide and profiles the nation’s most environmentally responsible campuses.

 “Penn is pleased to be recognized for our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint,” Anne Papageorge, vice president for facilities and real estate services, said.  “We are working tirelessly to build and operate a more sustainable campus and environmentally aware community, and we hope that future students will be excited by these initiatives.”

Penn was selected for inclusion in the guide based in part on President Amy Gutmann’s being the first Ivy League president to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (Almanac February 13, 2007). In addition, Penn appointed a full-time sustainability coordinator (Almanac May 6, 2008), created an Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (Almanac January 29, 2008) and prepared a long-range Climate Action Plan that includes the Green Campus Partnership campaign comprised of faculty, students and staff to build campus awareness.

For the last four years Penn has topped the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Challenge list of colleges and universities in purchasing green power, with more than 45 percent of its electricity offset by renewable energy credits. 

Penn has applied for LEED Platinum certification of its Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center and LEED Silver certification for its new Music Building and new Weiss Fitness Pavilion.  In addition, the construction of Penn Park has begun to replace a 14-acre surface parking lot with new athletic facilities and open space.

Other features of Penn’s sustainability operations recognized by The Princeton Review included the Penn Environmental Group, a student-run organization that promotes environmental education and awareness around the campus and in the neighboring community, and the Eco-Reps training program, designed to prepare students and staff to lead their peers in more sustainable behavior. 

Other programs contributing to Penn’s recognition include the PennPass, a student transit pass that allows for unlimited rides on buses and subways, and the development of new sustainability minors, majors and graduate degrees.

Additional information about Penn’s Green Campus Partnership is available at www.upenn.edu/sustainability. The guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/greenguide or www.usgbc.org/campus.

Green Fund Awards; Tree Planting on College Green

Almanac - April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31