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Dickinson College ranked among greenest schools in U.S.

Dickinson College is a “cool school.”

That’s according to Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, which has released its ninth annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities.

Dickinson placed 16th on the list, a ranking that college spokeswoman Christine M. Dugan called  in a news release an “honor for Dickinson and its mission of sustainability education.”

Dugan said the college, in Carlisle, replied to a Sierra questionnaire with details about their sustainability practices, including “academics, energy, investments, food, transit, waste and water. Some examples of their initiatives are designing and installing solar energy arrays, composting food waste, turning farm and food waste into biogas, promoting biking, organizing campus energy challenges, and a commitment to construction and building renovations that meet standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Dugan added that the ranking follows an Aug. 4 announcement that Dickinson was one of 24 schools on the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll, “one of many national honors the college has received for curricular innovations and leadership in sustainability.”


Some of the other schools in Sierra’s top 20 included the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Colorado State University, Arizona State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Joanne Kilgour, director of the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter, said in a news release that the organization was “thrilled” by the news, noting that Dickinson is “helping to lead the way for efforts to green campuses nationwide.”


“Dickinson College is a true innovator and we’re so glad to see them getting national recognition for this important work,” Kilgour said. “We congratulate Dickinson for their efforts to promote healthy communities and a clean environment, and we hope colleges and universities across the Commonwealth will follow suit and help green Pennsylvania.”


Sierra’s researchers ranked universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards, the publication said. Some of the factors that landed schools near the top of the list included: dining halls that serve organic, local foods; waste systems that keep trash out of landfills; alternative transportation options; ecology-focused academic programs; and water and energy conservation.


“We’re so inspired to see how colleges are taking the lead on addressing climate change,” said Avital Andrews, Sierra magazine’s lifestyle editor. “From building green to saving water to offering hundreds of eco-classes, these schools’ efforts are profound, and are changing not only the campus grounds, but also the minds of the students they’re educating.”


The Sierra Club is an environmental organization with more than 2.4 million supporters nationwide.

Larry Portzline
Larry Portzline covers York County, nonprofits, workforce and education. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at larryp@cpbj.com.

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