NEW PALTZ – The Princeton Review has selected the State University of New York at New Paltz for inclusion in its 2012 Guide to 322 Green Colleges. The guide, produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, profiles 320 institutions of higher education in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.
New Paltz is committed to environmental sustainability and responsibility. In this year’s guide, the college was recognized for its academic programs, environmentally friendly buildings, and its increased recycling efforts.
The college offers green academic programs in environmental geochemical science and environmental studies. They are supported by local and regional environmental organizations that offer students internship and research opportunities. These organizations include: the Mohonk Preserve; the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation; the Estuaries and River Institute; the Hudson Basin River Watch; the Brook Farm Project; the Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Clearwater; Scenic Hudson and the Ulster County Environmental Management Council.
New Paltz’ has also made an investment of capital into energy management initiatives, including one which states that all new construction of 5,000 square feet or larger be built to a minimum LEED Silver standard. In addition, several construction projects underscore why New Paltz was recognized as a green campus. The new Atrium, adjacent to the Student Union Building, is the most environmentally friendly building on campus. Special features include recycled glass in the concrete flooring and a glaze on the exterior glass to reduce heat gains.
The recent renovation of the Old Main Building, the oldest building on the New Paltz campus, also incorporated green features including maximum water efficiency, and highly efficient air-conditioning, lighting, and other systems that will achieve 10 percent more energy efficiency than the standards established by the New York State Energy Code. Materials with recycled content were incorporated into new construction, including steel beams and columns, and finishes such as carpet, vinyl tile flooring and acoustic ceiling panels. During the demolition, more than 90 percent of the material removed from the facility was converted into recycled content.
The solar panel project on the roof of the Resnick Engineering Hall was recently completed. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), it will be used to teach students in engineering and general education courses about photovoltaic systems. During 2011, there was also a $2 million campus wide energy management systems upgrade and five new solar powered solid waste containers were installed across the campus.
Participation in RecycleMania 2012 doubled the amount of recycling from the residence halls from 28,000 pounds of material in 2011 to 45,269 pounds in 2012. There has also been a concerted effort to capture recycling materials in construction projects. The college joined the EPA’s WasteWise Program that provides support for recycling solid waste. In all, these efforts resulted in a 50 percent waste diversion rate in 2012.
Other initiatives include Students for Sustainable Agriculture, a group that works to “promote a sustainable food system that is healthy for consumers, farm workers, and the environment;” an ongoing campus sustainability committee; the Green Thinking student blog; the Solar Car team; and the college’s unique way of handling the environmental problems caused by Canadian Geese – a border collie named Augie. Planning is also underway for the Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Day on May 5.
President Donald P. Christian is proud of New Paltz’ continued commitment to a greener campus environment. “While we work with resource constraints, colleges and universities must be leaders in adopting sustainable methods and models, and I am pleased with the interest and support for these goals that I see among students, faculty, and staff.”
Jacqueline DiStefano, vice president of administration and finance, is pleased the college has been recognized for its sustainability and green efforts in all the projects that have been completed and are currently underway on the campus. “Our selection by The Princeton Review highlights the hard work of so many individuals and campus constituent groups that work together to allow New Paltz to be recognized in this way. It clearly demonstrates that we are serious about our commitment to making our campus greener,” said DiStefano.
Brian Pine, director of facilities operations and maintenance, said green initiatives have become a part of every day operations on the New Paltz’ campus. “Colleges are at the forefront of changing our culture and our frame of mind about sustainability,” said Pine. “Students are the ones who have become increasingly aware of the importance of renewing, recycling, and reducing waste which benefit their campus, and, ultimately the world in which they live. By using these practices every day, New Paltz continues to be a leader among colleges that have adopted the “green” way of life,” he added.
New Paltz was among ten SUNY schools selected for the 2012 guide. Commenting on this recognition for SUNY, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “The State University of New York takes great pride in the increasing sustainability efforts on our campuses, and contributing to an energy-smart New York is one of six primary focuses of our strategic plan, The Power of SUNY. We could not be more pleased that ten of our campuses have been recognized on the Princeton Review’s List of Green Colleges. Congratulations to each campus on this much-deserved national distinction,” said Chancellor Zimpher.
New Paltz has been included in two previous editions of the guide. The guide’s annual “Green Rating” scores are based on a scale from 60 to 99 and the list is not hierarchically rated. The 322 institutions in the guide each received scores of 83 or above in their ratings. The guide is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges.
For more information about New Paltz’ green initiatives, visit www.newpaltz.edu/green. For more information about The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges and the rating system, go to www.princetonreview.com/green-rating-methodology.aspx.