The Green 16 – March Madness edition
March Madness is well under way, and while some of these schools may have already broken your hearts and your brackets, their sustainable actions have scored them a spot in our Green 16*.
University of Cincinnati
The Bearcats have made it to the Sweet 16, and if their basketball is as good as their green efforts, they could make a surprising run in the tournament. As a member of The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Cincy is dedicated to working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving research into the effects of climate change and encouraging students to get involved by joining the Student Sustainability Coalition. Sustainable programs at the school include a bike-sharing program and a car-sharing partnership with Zipcar.
Click here to learn more about sustainability at the University of Cincinnati.
Colorado State University
Colorado State University was knocked out of the tourney early, but it is still winning when it comes to sustainability. The school earns green points for being designated by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota Motor North America as an “Official Tree Campus USA” for its work promoting healthy trees and encouraging conversation about urban tree care. CSU is also known as a pioneer in many sustainable initiatives, including being the first university in the world to obtain a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) CI (Commercial Interior) Certification. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Colorado State University.
Duke’s historic loss to Lehigh in the first round rendered many a bracket useless. The university redeems itself by encouraging its students to take a pledge to go green and enter the Green Devil Smackdown, an eight-week competition that awards participants for their efforts to reduce emissions. Duke also scores points for supporting local farmers by holding a weekly farmers’ market and for its student-run community garden. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Duke University.
Florida State University
Florida State may have gone down in the second round to another member of this list (Cincinnati), but the Seminoles can still be proud of their sustainable efforts. The school participates in the annual, 10-week “Recyclemania” competition, has an entire month (mid- March to Mid-April) dedicated to the Earth, with events including World Water Day and a Farm to Fork lunch, and a “Chuck it for Charity” program that encourages students to donate, rather than throw out, the stuff they no longer need. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Florida State University.
This March Madness regular failed to make it to the Sweet 16. However, the school remains a sustainable champion for a number of reasons, including being a demonstration site in a global electric vehicle research initiative with the Toyota Motor Corp. and ZEV technologies. Other ways Georgetown goes green is by composting 100% of the organic yard waste collected by its grounds staff, offering a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dining options and decreasing waste production. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Georgetown University.
Harvard may have been a “one-and-done” in the NCAA tournament against the SEC tournament champs, Vanderbilt, but when it comes to being green, this Ivy has the winning formula. A member of the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll for having a green rating of 99 (the highest you can get), Harvard earns its sustainable rep for its Green Loan Fund, a $12 million revolving loan fund that provides capital for projects that reduce Harvard’s environmental impact and by reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 10.4% since 2006. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Harvard College.
Iowa State University
Knocked out in the second round, the Cyclones will have to wait until next year to see if they can make some noise in the tournament. When it comes to sustainability, however, Iowa State already has a winning formula. The school’s “live green” initiative encourages students, faculty and staff to do their part to create a more sustainable campus. Programs include such student organizations as the Environmental Studies Club and ISU Student Organic Farm, and green teams that bring together students, staff and faculty to work toward a sustainable goal. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Iowa State University.
Kansas State University
Though many thought Kansas State would make it past fellow “Green 16” member Syracuse, the Wildcats fell short. However, K-State can hold its head up high as a leading university in sustainability by offering such courses as “Environmental Systems in Architecture III,” publishing a sustainable foods newsletter and encouraging alumni to stay involved with the university’s green efforts. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Kansas State University.
The Golden Eagles await Florida in the Sweet 16, and while it’s too early to predict the outcome of that matchup, there’s no doubt Marquette is winning in the area of sustainability. Marquette helps students be more sustainable by providing easy access to information on green student and community organizations. The school also engages in a number of initiatives, including Wisconsin’s “Focus on Energy” program and giving students unlimited access to free public transportation. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Marquette University. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Marquette University.
Michigan State University
Led by a player whose last name happens to be “Green,” the MSU Spartans continue their fight to the Final Four. Whether it makes it all the way, or chokes before the Elite Eight, the school can be proud of its sustainable efforts. The University encourages students to “be Spartan green” by taking such action as reducing waste and recycling, sharing their stories about how they take the extra steps to be more sustainable and learning about the latest environmental issues. Students who want to make a career out of helping the Earth can get started by enrolling in one of 15 environment-focused majors, specializations in environmental studies and sustainability, and a residential learning community that focuses on the study of the environment. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Michigan State University.
North Carolina State University
Though only an 11-seed, few were surprised that the Wolfpack made it to the Sweet 16. And while its tournament run may end there, NC State shows no signs of stopping its sustainable efforts. The school is so proud of its green status, it even offers a sustainability tour that showcases the many sustainable elements of the campus. The University also gets points for composting 400 tons of food each academic year and for launching a program called “Certified Wolfpack Green” to encourage campus entities to institute sustainable practices. Click here to learn more about sustainability at North Carolina State University.
The Ohio State University - Columbus
The Buckeye faithful are hoping this year’s team can make it past the Sweet 16, but no matter what happens on the court, Ohio State can be proud of its sustainable strides. Known to do things in a big way, OSU has the goal of having the country’s largest Zero Waste stadium by diverting 90% of trash from the landfill through recycling and composting. With a season average diversion of about 75%, the school is well on its way. Sustainability at OSU doesn’t stop with The Horseshoe; the school also offers an interactive dashboard showcasing the energy usage of current buildings. Click here to learn more about sustainability at The Ohio State University.
San Diego State University
While San Diego State may have been knocked out of the tournament by fellow Green 16 member NC State, it’s still a powerhouse when it comes to sustainability. As a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, SDSU students, staff and faculty get access to a number of resources enabling them to create a more sustainable university. The school is also home to the Center for Regional Sustainability, which works toward making the university and the area it calls home a greener place. Click here to learn more about sustainability at San Diego State University.
Syracuse is one of those college basketball dynasties, and while a close call almost made them the first one-seed to ever go down in the first round, the Orange bounced back and it looks like they found their footing in this year’s tournament. Regardless of what happens on the court, Syracuse will remain a leader in sustainability for taking such actions as playing host to the eighth annual Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium Conference on April 2 to 4, where both professionals and students can learn what they can do to make their campuses more sustainable. Syracuse’s sustainable commitment also includes purchasing local food items whenever possible and offering an extensive recycling program. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Syracuse University.
While the Owls may have failed to make it past the first round of the tournament, Temple University can still be proud of its green initiatives, including a student sustainability pledge, offering tips on everything from recycling to reducing mold, and offering a number of a degree offerings with an environmental or sustainability focus. Always looking to improve, in the fall of 2011, Temple launched its Sustainability Living and Learning Community (LLC), which allows students to access the university’s resources on sustainability and learn what they can do to become leaders in this area. Click here to learn more about sustainability at Temple University.
West Virginia University
West Virginia’s tournament run came to an end in the second round. However, its sustainable journey shows no signs of stopping. Through its “We Can” program, WVU is committed to sustainability on campus and in the community through such initiatives as the world’s first public Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system and has conducted research into such areas as enhanced fuel cell production, carbon sequestration, wind energy and bio-fuels production. The university also encourages students to get involved by taking its sustainability pledge and joining green-focused student organizations.Click here to learn more about sustainability at West Virginia University.
*List is based on the 68 teams that qualified for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and Princeton Review’s 2011 list of the 311 greenest colleges. Learn more about the list, and how the schools were chosen, by clicking here.
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