September 26, 2017

SIU again earns Princeton Review’s ‘green colleges’ honor

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility is once again earning national recognition.

For the second consecutive year and the sixth time in seven years, SIU has earned a spot in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 375 Green Colleges: 2017 Edition.” The rankings were released last week.

“We are very excited to be included in this review,” Lori Stettler, interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said. “Our campus prides itself in working toward being a leader for conservation of campus resources and environmental sustainability.

The publication, first published in 2010, scored institutions of higher learning on their sustainability-related policies, practices and programs in order to choose the “green colleges.” A combination of student opinions and data reported by the schools was utilized. While most ranked institutions are in the United States, schools in other nations were scored as well. Schools are not ranked within the list.

“We are so pleased to have again received this recognition, Geory Kurtzhals, sustainability coordinator, said. “There are many individuals across SIU’s campus – students, faculty and staff – who have helped to make this happen. We do not take this for granted and know that as a university community, we need to continue to improve to maintain our spot on this list.”

She said SIU is always looking for new and different ways to be more green and sustainable and that’s proven by new initiatives just within the last year.

“Just this spring, we started the Saluki Green Action team, an educational campaign that encourages more sustainable daily habits, and we also recently initiated a Sustainability Fellows program that matches the skill sets of passionate students with some of our campus sustainability priorities,” Kurtzhals said. “For example, as a Sustainability Fellow prior to her recent graduation, Julia Sanabria developed a strong outreach program, including our First Friday Green Tours. While many faculty have leveraged these tours for their classes, staff and community members are welcome as well. We have a wide array of ways to participate listed on our website,”

The green colleges guide includes a profile of SIU and the other recognized universities, citing various “green” facts and other demographics. Among the notations on SIU’s profile is a fire safety rating of 93 out of 99 and a green rating of 84 out of 99. The report notes the beauty of the campus and wooded areas, that the university offers campus shuttle services and has a sustainability officer and committee and numerous other green initiatives. Also mentioned are the more than 40 university departments offering courses with a sustainability focus, along with the student-funded Green Fee. The Sustainability Council has awarded more than $2.1 million for dozens of sustainability-related projects.