Get a Green Degree: 6 of the Most Eco-Friendly Colleges in America
If you’re focused on living a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, you need two find a college that fits with your ideals. That means more than just offering great programs in ecology and environmental science. It means more than being surrounded by natural beauty. Most of all, it’s about finding a school that practices what it preaches, by focusing on clean energy, recycling, local eating, and other eco-friendly initiatives. If you’re a treehugger looking for a green spot to set down roots, look no further than these great options.
College of the Atlantic.
This tiny college in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine is home to just a few hundred students, and boasts the stunning Acadia National Park as its backyard. The school is carbon-neutral, most buildings are made from recycled elements, and the campus’ food is all locally grown and organic. The school is most unique, however, in that it offers just one major: human ecology. Students are free to take courses in a variety of disciplines, like literature, arts, and sciences, but all classes include a message of sustainability and being aware of our impact on the planet.
Warren Wilson College.
This small liberal arts school in North Carolina takes an innovative approach to the college experience, requiring each student to join a campus work crew and participate in outside community service in order to graduate. The school’s food and lumber come from its own gardens and forests, and vehicles run on biodiesel fuel. With an ongoing commitment to sustainability, Warren Wilson College is the perfect place for a student as interested in giving back to the world as learning from it.
Green Mountain College.
Located in Poultney, Vermont, Green Mountain College requires all students to take a 37-credit Environmental Liberal Arts General Education Program, but the school’s commitment to the environment doesn’t end there. Students are also encouraged to take part in hands-on experiential learning seminars in the natural world, and to take part in the Food & Farm Project, where they can garden and farm to produce the food that the students and faculty eat. The school is also involved in developing ongoing sustainability projects, such as a biomass plant that will source about 20% of the school’s energy requirements.
Minnesota’s Carleton College has two wind turbines. The school is committed to local, organic food, and offers its students “single-stream” recycling, which means that they don’t need to separate the various elements to recycle them. Every February, the students participate in “Dorm Wars,” where they compete to see which building can reduce their energy usage the most, even if it meant outdoor camping in the middle of winter. The winning dorm reduced their energy usage by 22 percent, but the students all used the experience to focus on how they can remain energy-efficient all year round.
UC Santa Cruz
Along with top-notch programs in ecology, marine biology, and other eco-focused subjects, the beautiful UC Santa Cruz is committed to sustainability by fueling all of its energy needs through hydroelectric and wind sources. The school is surrounded by natural beauty, and the town has an eclectic mix of eco-focused independent shops, including an all-night vegan diner.
Ohio’s Oberlin College, a small liberal arts school, has a strong focus on sustainability, and has developed campus-wide technology to help students, staff, and faculty live green. The college uses an online system to monitor water and energy usage in the dorms, which the students can use to control their carbon footprint, and the campus boasts a solar array and many LEED-certified educational buildings.