Skip to main content

Eckerd College named again in Princeton Review’s guide to green colleges

By Tom Scherberger
Published April 17, 2014
Categories: Academics

Eckerd College is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top “green colleges” in the country. It is the fourth time Eckerd has been included in the fifth annual guide.

The guide profiles institutions in the U.S. and Canada which “demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.” The guide bills itself as the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges. The free download is available here.

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review Senior VP/Publisher, noted the growing interest among students in attending “green” colleges. Among 9,955 college applicants The Princeton Review surveyed in 2013 for its “College Hopes & Worries Survey,” 62% said having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend a school.

The rankings were based on scores for 832 colleges this year, based on data collected last year in surveys of schools concerning their sustainability-related practices, policies and academic offerings.

Eckerd has an extensive and growing commitment to sustainability.

Here’s what the 2014 guide says about Eckerd:

Eckerd College’s campus borders the Gulf of Mexico, allowing students glimpses of abundant Florida wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, egrets, ibis, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, and even alligators. Eckerd’s Gamma Freeman Environmental Dorm is one living option for green-conscious students. These dorms have their own native-plant gardens, efficient lighting, and communal appliances that help reduce both costs and energy usage. The Iota Dorm is LEED-certified. Eckerd also has a “Carbon Offset Fund” for students to help reduce their carbon footprint caused by flying overseas for Winter term trips and Spring Break service learning trips. The fund is used towards eco-friendly projects chosen by student for campus. A few years ago, Eckerd College started the first ever reusable to-go carry away system in the United States. The school provides durable plastic containers that students check out, use, and return instead of the environmentally harmful disposable plastic, paper, and Styrofoam used elsewhere. In 2013 the college’sfirst solar photovoltaic panel array was installed on the newly renovated Environmental Studies building. During peak sunny hours, the 50-kilowatt system provides enough electricity to power two buildings in the academic complex. Eckerd also recently partnered with U-Haul to create a car share program that provides three rental vehicles on campus for students who need a ride. Eckerd also jumped out —or rather pedaled out— ahead of the green transportation game by launching its Yellow Bike Program in 2004. Since that time, the program and its bright yellow bikers have become widely popular with the faculty, staff and students. The program has also even gained attention in the media for Eckerd. What is more eco-friendly than a campus where even the College president can be seen reducing greenhouse gases by pedaling around campus?

The Princeton Review’s “Green Rating” survey asked:

1) The percentage of food expenditures that goes toward local, organic or otherwise environmentally preferable food.

2) Whether the school offers mass transit programs, bike sharing, facilities for bicyclists, bicycle and pedestrian plans, car sharing, carpool discount, carpool/vanpool matching, cash-out of parking, prohibiting idling, local housing, telecommuting, and condensed workweek.

3) Whether the school has a formal committee with participation from students that is devoted to advancing sustainability on campus.

4) Whether buildings that were constructed or underwent major renovations in the past three years are LEED certified.

5) The school’s overall waste diversion rate.

6) Whether the school has an environmental studies major, minor or concentration.

7) Whether the school’s students graduate from programs that include sustainability as a required learning outcome or include multiple sustainability learning outcomes.

8) Whether the school has a formal plan to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions.

9) The percentage of the school’s energy consumption that is derived from renewable resources.

10) Whether the school employs a dedicated full-time (or full-time equivalent) sustainability officer.