Marquette recognized as green college by Princeton Review

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IMG_1021Marquette’s environmental and sustainability programs were recognized for the third consecutive year on the Princeton Review’s 2014 Guide to 332 Green Colleges.

Lynn Sheka, associate director of university communication, said Marquette is “proud” to earn a spot in the green guide.

“‘Fostering sustainable practices and a culture of environmental responsibility’ is an objective under the ‘Sustainability of Valuable Resources’ theme in our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries,” Sheka said in an email. “So this designation recognizes the university’s commitment to continue to make sustainability a priority.”

To qualify for Princeton Review’s list, universities must focus their efforts on mass transportation programs, green building certifications and expanded course offerings in environmental studies, among other criteria.

According to the report, Marquette met all the above specifications. It was specifically commended for its sustainability efforts in using excess steam from local power plants to heat 90 percent of the campus, which helped the university earn a “green” score of 87, on a scale from 60 to 99.

According to the guide’s Marquette profile, the university invested $7 million to improve its energy efficiency and water systems, reducing its annual energy use by more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours and its annual water consumption by about 13.5 million gallons.

“Students who attend Marquette University will find opportunities to engage and support environmental sustainability throughout campus, from the classroom to their dorm room and everywhere in between,” the profile states.

Tom Ganey, vice president of planning at Marquette, said the university’s sustainability efforts extend beyond Marquette’s steam energy use. He pointed to student-led green initiatives, like the dental student’s recent “sustainability fair,” or the tree planting at Sensenbrenner Hall for Earth Day.

Ganey said he was content with the score the university received, but did not know whether Marquette could get a better score in the future.

“I’m not sure how high up the scale we can go,” Ganey said. He said some of the other criteria were academic and that the university “wasn’t going to create a new college for environmental studies.”

Marquette presently offers an interdisciplinary minor in environmental ethics, has an endowed chair in secure and renewable energy systems in the College of Engineering, and offers several water law courses for law students.

Marquette was one of seven Wisconsin universities named on the list, including the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. UW-Madison, Wisconsin’s flagship school, did not qualify for Princeton Review’s guide, but UW-Stevens Point received a 99, the highest score possible.

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