I think you’ll agree with me:
When it comes to eco-friendliness, colleges and universities are often leading the way. With a conscious student body and faculty, they often develop effective programs, events, and policies that change our world for the better.
So, we wanted to honor the schools that are doing the most to keep our world healthy and beautiful – starting with schools in the South. The factors that went into ranking these southern schools include surveys of students and faculty, number and diversity of environmental programs, and eco-friendly campus policies.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 most eco-friendly colleges in the south:
(Also, we’re going to be launching ethical class rings this fall. If you’re interested in purchasing one, partnering with us, or even just interested in our story, please shoot us an email!)
10. Florida State University
Though I can’t say I expected it, Florida State University is actually super environmentally friendly. In addition to their popular bike sharing program, ReCycle, they also encourage ride sharing, buses, and a free taxi service. FSU’s academic selections also reflect an increasing focus on eco-consciousness, offering more and more courses on social enterprise, environmental concerns, and sustainability.
9. Coastal Carolina University
Coastal Carolina University, located in Conway, South Carolina, has one of the nation’s most impressive college sustainability programs, the Campus and Community Sustainability Initiative. Through a variety of programs and endeavors, they are “committed to transform Coastal Carolina University into an environmentally sustainable university through campus operations, student curriculum, engaging students through learning and outreach, and collaboration in the community through sustainable stewardship of resources.” This month they are presenting a variety of events for Earth Month.
8. Louisiana State University
With 70% of the campus maintained organically, Louisiana State University is a leading force of eco-friendliness in the south. Located in Baton Rouge, the school’s sustainability efforts are led by the LSU Campus Sustainability program, which provides education, outreach, and events to get students and faculty more involved in sustainability. The school also offer a Sustainability Management Certificate.
7. University of South Florida
Another Florida school hitting our list of sustainable colleges in the south, University of South Florida has a solid amount of eco-friendly programs in place, including bike sharing, smart parking, and and a variety of others from the Office of Sustainability. They’ve got a yearly green job fair, as well as campus wide events for Earth Day and Arbor day. There are also dozens of environmental student groups on campus like the Student Environmental Association.
6. University of Louisville
According to its website, “The University of Louisville is committed to integrating sustainability into everything we do – from how we manage our facilities, finances and people to what we teach in the classroom and what we research in the lab.” They prove this through a variety of programs, mainly spearheaded by their Sustainability Council. The school has a climate action plan with the grand goal to reach climate neutrality by 2050.
5. Georgia Southern University
Not only is Georgia Southern University’s campus beautiful, but it’s also surprisingly eco-friendly. Through their Center for Sustainability, they offer programs and outreach to incentivize students to get involved in research and volunteerism on campus. This is also one of only a handful of schools requiring students to complete a four-credit environmental science course to graduate.
4. Florida Atlantic University
Florida schools are dominating in sustainability. Hitting our list at #4 is a school located in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University. FAU’s Mission Green campaign offers campus sustainability, academic programs, practices, events, and outreach to keep their campus green and eco-friendly. They’re consistently educating the student populace with programs like they’re “Ink Cartridge Recycling Program.”
3. Warren Wilson College
It’s hardly a surprise that Warren Wilson College hits this list at #3. It is located in Asheville, North Carolina, which is beautiful, green, and eco-conscious itself. The school is entirely self-supporting, getting food from organic gardens and lumber from their own managed forests. All of their street lamps are solar powered as well.
2. Appalachian State University
About 2 hours northeast of Asheville, in Boone, North Carolina, lies our next school on this list: Appalachian State University. This beautiful mountain college has sustainability in its bones, as exhibited by their campus sustainability mission. They offer free mass transit, car sharing, and place an emphasis on bicycling, as well as offering sustainable farming and forestry classes.
1. Berea College
This tiny school in Berea, KY might just be the most eco-friendly school in the country, let alone our southern colleges list. Baking sustainability to its core, Berea College has been paving the way for year, claiming the first LEED-certified building in Kentucky. They have an ecovillage, community aquaphonics system, and a college farm and garden (which produces most of the school’s food). It’s hard to summarize the school’s environmental accomplishments in a paragraph, so I won’t try. Suffice to say that if it’s a program at Berea, it is eco-friendly and focused on sustainability. Check out their website here to learn more.
(Bonus: the school is tuition-free)
What do you think? Did we miss your eco-friendly school? Shoot us an email or comment to let us know!