Applicants look for green campuses

According to a press release issued by the Princeton Review, of the 12,715 high school students surveyed, 68 percent said having information about potential colleges' commitment to the environment would impact their decision to attend the school.,”

  • A survey by the Princeton Review reflected 68 percent of students said knowing about colleges' commitments to the environment would affect their decisions to attend.
  • The Princeton Review now rates schools with "Green Ratings" which measure how committed they are to environmentally aware practices.
  • Eleven schools received a perfect score of 99 and made the Green Review Honor Roll

College applicants are growing more concerned with how green campuses are, according to the Princeton Review's 2009 College Hopes and Worries Survey.

According to a press release issued by the Princeton Review, of the 12,715 high school students surveyed, 68 percent said information about colleges' commitments to the environment would impact their decisions to attend the school. Last year, only 64 percent of students said this was true.

The first time that the Princeton Review surveyed students'

interests in school commitments to environmental issues was in 2007, according to the press release.

David Soto, director of content development at the Princeton Review, said the Green Ratings were created upon hearing student interest in a school's environmental standing.

"Seeing that there was an increase in awareness helped us make our decision," Soto said.

He said the Princeton Review contacted ecoAmerica to help develop the Green Ratings. EcoAmerica is a nonprofit group that works to inform people about environmental concerns.

"They legitimized us as a green expert," Soto said. He said the Princeton Review consults with ecoAmerica from year-to-year to make sure their questions are still applicable and useful.

Soto said the Princeton Review uses three criteria to rank schools from 60 to 99: quality of life for students, how much the school prepares students for a greening economy and what sort of policies the university has regarding the environment.

Soto said the large percentage of students interested in colleges' efforts to be environmentally friendly surprises him, because it managed to hold out against other issues like the economy.

"It's interesting to see that the environment didn't take a back seat," Soto said.

Eleven schools were placed on the Green Rating Honor Roll this year for receiving perfect scores from the Princeton Review.

Marquette received a score of 96. Nearby Loyola University Chicago also received a high score of 95.

"Loyola has a really big 'going green' initiative," said Alli Dietz, a freshman at Loyola.

While it was not the only reason she picked Loyola, Dietz said Loyola's commitment to the environment was at least part of the reason she decided to attend.

Dietz said she was first introduced to Loyola's environmental commitment when she was on a tour of the campus and went through the Information Commons, a building designed to be environmentally friendly.

"It uses some solar energy, and it also only heats the air up to six feet," Dietz said. "That way, they aren't heating air that doesn't need to be heated."

Dietz said some green events at Loyola include setting up donation boxes for gently-used clothes on move-out day, and a trip out into the community to pick up trash for Earth Day. She said events usually go over well, such as Earth Hour, which she described as "huge around here."

While Marquette earned a slightly higher score than Loyola, College of Arts & Sciences sophomore Ali Clark said she feels like Marquette is not as environmentally aware as it could be.

"There are some people who don't even consider the environment here," Clark said. Clark said she is a member of Students for an Environmentally Active Campus and is obtaining a minor in environmental ethics.

She said students and administration on campus are environmentally minded overall.

"I think we are moving in the right direction," Clark said.

While Clark herself did not choose Marquette specifically because of its environmental program, she said she was glad that the campus does have that commitment to the environment, and that students are active as well.

"It's encouraging to know you have the power as a student to make changes," Clark said.