May 01, 2011

SIUC earns spot in Princeton Review's green guide

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's efforts to "go green" are gaining recognition.

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition” includes SIUC. The book, the second annual edition from The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes colleges that demonstrate “a notable commitment to sustainability” according to the email SIUC officials received about the honor.

“I think our inclusion on this list demonstrates the growing momentum for sustainability at SIUC. Student investment and involvement in sustainability at SIUC distinguishes us further. Only 17 percent of the schools on the Princeton Review’s 2011 Guide to Green Colleges are listed as having ‘thriving student groups.’ SIUC is one of them,” said Ryan Klopf, a doctoral plant biology student who chairs the Sustainability Council at SIUC.

This is the University’s first appearance in the green colleges guide. Selections are based on a scoring system in which pollsters use data from a 50-question survey conducted with hundreds of administrators regarding their college’s environmental and sustainability efforts and initiatives to assign numerical scores. Schools earning scores in the 80th percentile or higher won a spot on the green colleges list. The Princeton Review does not rank the 311 schools nor report their scores in the guide but does profile each of the featured schools.

The SIUC profile notes, “Southern Illinois University Carbondale was blazing a path toward sustainability before going green was popular or press-worthy. In 1999, SIUC became the first school in Illinois to sign the Talloires Declaration (a sustainability pact) and in 2007 the school signed the Illinois Sustainable University Compact.” The report notes the University’s Campus Sustainability Project, an online comprehensive database of environmental management data, and policies and programs to reduce the SIUC carbon footprint, including $4 million in energy efficiency and conservation projects.

The report praises the vermicomposting facility to create compost from campus dining food waste, the use of used motor oil from campus vehicles to heat the facility, the Saluki Bikes free bike rental program, the green roof of the Agriculture Building and plans for other “green” buildings, including the new Transportation Education Center being built under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.

Also noted is the SIUC Sustainability Council and the Green Fee, a $10 per student, per semester fee enacted during the fall 2009 semester following a student-led initiative. Funds pay for sustainability projects and already the Sustainability Council’s Green Fund Committee has awarded more than $486,000 to 37 very diverse projects. Monies have gone toward advancing a wind turbine construction project, a project to convert cooking oil to fuel and cattle feed, producing vegetables for dining halls, installing energy efficient lighting and much more.

You can download the book at no cost online at or