NEW PALTZ – The Princeton Review has selected the State University of New York at New Paltz for inclusion in its 2013 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 environmental sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.
In this year’s guide, the college was recognized for its academic programs, environmentally friendly buildings, and its increased recycling efforts. The guide also mentions Students for Sustainable Agriculture, a student group that promotes sustainable food systems on campus and in the community.
New Paltz is committed to environmental sustainability and responsibility. The college offers strong academic programs in environmental geochemical science and environmental studies, which 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. The renovation of Crispell Hall has achieved LEED Gold. The Atrium, adjacent to the Student Union Building, features recycled glass in the concrete flooring and a glaze on the exterior glass to reduce heat gains. The renovation of the Old Main Building 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.
Other green initiatives include: a weekly farmers’ market on campus; the Green Thinking student blog; the Solar Car team; five solar powered solid waste containers on campus; annual participation in RecycleMania, a national recycling program on college and university campuses; membership in the EPA’s Waste Wise Program that provides support for recycling solid waste; an annual Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Day; and a border collie named Augie that helps control environmental problems caused by Canadian Geese.
A 5-kilowatt solar array, installed in fall 2012, are being used to power a garage and to recharge the batteries of the fleet of electric vehicles that were acquired in an earlier environmental initiative. This was the fourth solar installation on the campus. In addition, New Paltz President Donald P. Christian uses one of the College’s two 2009 Nissan Altima hybrid vehicles as his official car, which helps the College reduce its dependence on oil and lower the campus’s carbon footprint.
Christian expressed pride in New Paltz’s continued commitment to a greener campus environment. “Even at a time when we must pick and choose our priorities wisely, colleges and universities must be leaders in adopting sustainable methods and models. I am pleased with the high level of support for these goals that I see among students, faculty, and staff. Our efforts toward making our campus greener are reflected in our selection by The Princeton Review.”
New Paltz was among eight SUNY schools selected for the 2013 guide. “SUNY’s commitment to an energy-smart New York and to sustainability throughout our system is a critical component of our strategic plan, one that our campuses have widely embraced and consistently shown leadership on,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to the eight SUNY campuses listed in the 2013 Guide to Green Colleges. This recognition is much deserved and highly commendable.”
New Paltz has been included in three previous editions of the guide. It was chosen based on a Princeton Review survey of 806 schools across the U.S. and Canada. 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 Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges. For more information about the guide and its rating system, go to www.princetonreview.com/green-rating-methodology.aspx.