August 22, 2017

SIU Carbondale earns spot as a Sierra Club ‘Cool School’

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned a spot on the Sierra Club’s “2017 Cool Schools” list.

“I am thrilled that SIU has received this recognition,” said Leslie Duram, director of environmental studies and professor of geography and environmental resources. “This honor truly indicates SIU’s commitment to sustainability and our excellent environmental research and teaching.”

All four-year undergraduate universities and colleges, of which there are more than 2,000 in the United States, were eligible to submit applications. A total of 62 criteria were used to determine scores and ranks, which were released today (Aug. 22.) The criteria covered a variety of sustainability aspects, including facilities, events, student involvement, educational programs and much more.

Supplemental information provided to the Sierra Club along with raw data from the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System self-reporting system was used to determine rankings. SIU earned a silver ranking and national recognition earlier this year from STARS.

SIU is one of just five public universities in Illinois to earn a ranking within the top 200 on the Sierra Club’s list. The university earned some of its highest marks for academics, co-curricular programming and waste management.

This is the second consecutive year SIU has been ranked, and Geory Kurtzhals, sustainability coordinator, notes that the university’s overall score of 420.92 reflected a 10 percent improvement from the 2016 score. The campus is ranked No. 196 this year.

“This progress reflects the work of a variety of individuals around campus, all doing their part to make our campus more sustainable,” Kurtzhals said.

Learn more about sustainability initiatives at SIU online at