The Top 10 Most Eco-Friendly Colleges – West

As a very socially conscious startup, we at Do Amore love to watch other organizations that are making a difference in the world. Colleges, often times, are leaders in this arena. As we profiled a few weeks ago in our article on eco-friendly colleges in the south, students and faculty are leading the way in sustainability, with programs, courses, majors, and organizations to keep our earth healthy. At Do Amore, we attempt to do the same thing: leave our world better than we found it (through ethical engagement rings and our Water for Two model).

So we want to profile the colleges that are doing this the best. The factors that went into ranking these western schools include surveys of students and faculty, awards and recognition, 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 west:

10. Oregon State University

Weatherford Hall at Oregon State University

Located in Corvallis, Oregon, OSU hits our list of most eco-friendly colleges in the west at #10 – and for good reason. The campus takes its sustainability seriously, winning the national RecycleMania competition by cutting its waste by 40%. They were also awarded the Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA. OSU is absolutely decked out in sustainability recognition, actually. Finally, they’ve got a ton of environmental majors, like Ecological Engineering.

9. Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado is a state that is known for its greenery, in more ways than one. Colorado State University embodies the eco-friendly brand of ‘green’ and does it well. In addition to their numerous LEED certified buildings on campus, CSU also has a 30-acre solar plant, which greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions on campus and generates the equivalent electricity to power 949 homes.

8. Central Washington University

Central Washington University

At this Ellensburg, Washington campus, sustainability is baked to the core. Central Washington University has many environmentally-focused organizations – the Landscape Values Institute, the Center for Spatial Information, and the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. The school offers many sustainability and environmental studies courses, and the campus is straight up green and beautiful.

7. Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University

Through their environmental practices, environmental stewardship, and research that local and global environmental issues, Southern Oregon University is a great example of a top eco-friendly college. They developed a Green Fund that provides funding to students that take on sustainability projects on campus, with the eventual goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. They’ve also got a thick folder of sustainability-oriented classes that students can take.

6. California State University – Monterey Bay

CSU Monterey Bay

Cal State Monterey Bay is another school with an ambitious carbon neutrality goal: they hope to achieve it by 2030. Plus, they’ve got a Climate Action Plan that explains step-by-step how they’re going to get there. All of their landscaping is done with drought resistant plants, which makes them rely on less water to make the campus beautiful (and it is a beautiful campus). They further reduced water consumption by installing waterless urinals and low flow toilets in new buildings

5. Evergreen State College

the evergreen state college

With Evergreen State College, sustainability is in their name. They practice eco-friendliness, too, and to an inspiring level: they plan on achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. To do this, they promote campus-wide recycling programs, enriching courses on environmental science and sustainability, and free bus passes for faculty and students. They’ve laid out all of their plans very transparently on their website.

4. Portland State University

Portland State University

Portland is known as one of the greenest cities in one of the greenest states in the country. So it’s no surprise that Portland State University hits our list at #4. Students are heavily involved in sustainability on campus and can choose to live in a Sustainability Living Learning Community. In addition, just by using the exercise equipments in the rec center, students generate clean energy. Through their research, education, and action, Portland State sets an example to be admired.

3. University of Alaska — Fairbanks


The University of Alaska – Fairbanks is about as far west as you can get, but it’s a beautiful campus with a sustainable track record. As a few other campuses have done, they eliminated food trays, which reduces food waste by 50% and results in 222,000 less trays washed annually. In addition, the UAF Office of Sustainability coordinates a large amount of events, education, research and volunteer efforts to keep campus green.

2. University of California – Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara is a fantastic school with a great sustainability track record. Since 2009, they’ve invest $14 million in energy efficiency. In addition, 90% of campus is irrigated with recycled water and 19.5 million gallons of drinking water are saved through their sustainable irrigation. In light of the California drought, their efforts do not go unnoticed and that’s why we’ve ranked them at #2.

1. Lewis and Clark College

Lewis and Clark College

Ahhh Portland! You magnificent city, you. In a city filled with active youth, progressive ideas, and beautiful outdoors, it’s no wonder that Lewis and Clark College takes #1 on our list of sustainable colleges. Their efforts do not go unnoticed, of course, as they were ranked as the #1 greenest college by the Princeton Review. they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent over the last nine years. In addition, the school offers a variety of environmental-related programs, classes, and majors, and the Sustainability Council keeps its passionate students engaged, organized, and informed.