Earth Day is once a year, but the University of Houston does its part to help the planet every day.
Each year, UH continues to reduce its carbon footprint through enhanced sustainability initiatives and increased participation from the campus community. Such efforts have been crucial to the university’s recent recognition in The Princeton Review’s 2012 “Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” UH has been recognized as a green university by The Princeton Review for three consecutive years.
“UH is thrilled to be recognized again by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s greenest colleges,” said Emily Messa, associate vice president for administration. “This is a testament to the integration of sustainability into the fabric of our university. We recognize that sustainability is a continual journey and look forward to learning and growing with our community.”
Messa is among the dedicated staff members and students overseeing Green UH, the initiative leading campus sustainability endeavors. Its partners include the university’s Sustainability Task Force, Green UH Student Leadership Council and volunteer Eco Reps.
Green UH promotes daily green practices on campus through trayless dining, office and residence hall recycling programs, campus recycling receptacles, green commuting tips and green computing. Also, Green UH oversees the campus’ community garden.
Each year, UH students also participate in the national Recyclemania competition. This year, the university has collected recyclable materials equivalent to 22 metric tons of carbon dioxide (comparable to taking 65 cars off the road).
UH also hosts annual sustainability events including Green UH Day and the Earth Day Carnival. This year’s carnival is set for 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., April 19 in the university’s Butler Plaza (in front of the UH M.D. Anderson Library).
A highlight of last year’s green efforts was the installation of the campus’ first solar array. Through a $140,000 gift from Green Mountain Energy, UH received 88 photovoltaic solar panels for the university’s central utility plant. The panels power its administrative offices and produce up to 23,615-kilowatt hours of clean energy each year. It is estimated that this array will contribute to energy savings of up to $300,000 over 30 years.
This year, UH also benefitted from 60 new recycling bins that were donated by ALCOA, as well as 300 new trees that were planted on campus.
The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges profiles institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The 232-page guide is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges. It is published by The Princeton Review in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council. It can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.
“We are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally responsible choices. To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review.
The Princeton Review selected universities for this guide following surveys that were completed by the colleges’ administrators. Surveys contained more than 50 questions regarding university policies, practices and programs. Based on these surveys, The Princeton Review tallied “Green Rating” scores from 60 to 99. The universities listed in this guide scored 83 or higher.
“We’re honored to be part of a list of schools working hard for sustainability,” said Leah Wolfthal, UH program coordinator for sustainability. “We’re also excited about the unfolding progress made not only last year, but also by what’s to come!”
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.
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