Going Green and Liberal Arts Colleges


What Universities Offer the Most in Eco-Friendly Initiatives?

Green Mountain College

A young person doesn’t necessarily have to have an uber-progressive set of parents, bent on single-handedly solving all of the environmental problems that the planet faces, just to have a mind for going green at an early age. Given the proliferation of social media marketing, and young people’s presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook, chances are that the environment is a cause that ranks high among teens.

So what happens when that group of 18- and 19-year olds gets ready to go to college, and part of what they’re investigating before making their decision on where to attend — is just how “green” their college of choice actually is? Of course, there may be an on-campus recycling program associated with the campus cafeteria and other dining establishments, and even a going green club or sorts, but what about major efforts for the planet? What schools offer special programs, or can tout special initiatives when it comes to going green at the university level?

News About & Programs for Eco-Minded College Students

While engineering programs and business schools may offer equally compelling environmental initiatives, many liberal arts college prospective students will discover the most interesting eco-minded programs when they head off to school to start their first semester. And if you’re staying home, continuing on in your job, and registering to earn an online degree, here’s information on how an online degree is a green effort too.

In May of 2012, Oregon State University drafted an online introduction, debuting the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI). And what’s its mission? According to the post, they intend to works towards “maintaining OSU as a model of environment-friendly activities and services [and to] essentially […] continue OSU’s ‘green’ mission of promoting sustainability.” Within the past year, OSU has officially put their money where their mouth is, and joined a host of other universities in a campaign worth $1 billion called the “Green Challenge” linking extra funding in exchange for whatever energy efficiency upgrades the university can find.

At the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, students can take advantage of a wide variety of green initiatives, including joining in the school President’s Climate Commitment, helping out with the school’s electronics recycling collections, honoring and recognizing special green dates on the calendar such as Earth Day, and calculating your ecological footprint. Learn more about MCLA’s Green Campus initiatives here.

Towson University in Maryland heavily promotes their dedication to sustainable building on campus, noting that their “history of sustainable design and operations extends even farther than [their] commitment to LEED certification. A few examples of the campus’s longstanding approach toward environmentally-friendly construction practices are listed here.” This includes an $8 million Energy Services Contractor project, the goal of which is to universally and comprehensively improve the energy efficiency of on-campus lighting.

Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin has an entire liberal arts school that pairs up the traditional liberal arts curriculum with an emphasis on environmental concerns. According to the website of the school, “Long before ‘green’ and ‘global climate change’ became part of our national conversation, Northland was building its  national reputation as a leader in environmental and sustainability issues.” Learn more about Northland College’s distinctive environmental liberal arts curriculum now.

As part of Occidental College’s green initiative, in southern California, Occidental Dining Services is now “composting everything that can be composted” including flatware and take out boxes or containers, according to university sources. Learn more about Oxy’s Going Green policies and efforts.

And who tops the list? Well, in the past year or so, it seems that Green Mountain College and their Living the Environmental Liberal Arts program has risen to the very top of the heap when it comes to creating a robust liberal arts education program that has at its core, environmental values and concerns. Learn more about this progressive and much lauded program at Green Mountain College in Vermont, now.

[Photo Via: Green Mountain College]

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