BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic leads Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges” ranking for the second year in a row, landing the No. 1 spot with its ongoing commitment to sustainability – through both campus initiatives and innovative academic programs.
COA’s central focus on an interdisciplinary, experiential study of the interactions between humans and the environment attracts students and faculty with a strong commitment to sustainability. Generations of students, taking advantage of COA’s participatory governance system, have developed and implemented policies and practices for greening the school’s operations, including fossil fuel divestment, policies on meat procurement, paper purchasing, zero waste and eliminating containerized water.
Both Princeton Review and Sierra Club have ranked COA as the top sustainability-focused college in the nation for 2016 and 2017.
Among the college’s many green distinctions noted by Princeton Review: COA became the first carbon-neutral college in 2007; COA owns and stewards 300 acres of forest and farmland, which provide research and educational opportunities for students and faculty; and the college’s hands-on curriculum involves students in implementing COA’s commitment to becoming a fossil fuel-free campus by 2030 – COA classes already have participated in energy audits and have researched, sited and installed solar photovoltaic arrays on campus.
“Environmental and social sustainability have been in our DNA since day one, and these concerns continue to be the focus of so much of what we do here,” said Darron Collins ’92, College of the Atlantic president. “Our students wouldn’t have it any other way. They are driven to create positive change in the world, and it’s our responsibility to give them the tools to allow that to happen.”
College of the Atlantic, Colby College and the University of Maine are the only Maine schools among Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges.
The Princeton Review developed the Top 50 ranking list using data from its institutional survey for its Green Rating and its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the institutional survey were factored into the assessment. Data from the student survey included student ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups. The guide, first published in 2010, may be found at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.