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Ohio University named one of continent's greenest colleges

Ohio University is one of the 322 most sustainable colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to a new publication from The Princeton Review.

The University is highlighted in the fourth annual edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges. Schools were chosen based on a 50-question survey of college administrators conducted in 2012 that gathered data about the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation to measure their commitment to the environment and to sustainability.

In a press release, Review publisher Robert Franek said that 62 percent of students the organization surveyed said a college’s commitment to environmental issues would influence their enrollment choices.

“It’s encouraging for OHIO to be recognized for its collective efforts toward sustainability,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of the Office of Sustainability at Ohio University. “Designations such as this allow us to recruit more sustainability-minded students and, thus, advance further efforts on environmental and social health in this region.”

The guide describes OHIO as “a big school with a lot of swagger when it comes to greening its campus.” The university’s in-vessel composting system is the largest at any college or university in the United States, capable of accepting up to four tons of waste daily. Other sustainability measures described were the OHIO Ecohouse, the campus community garden and the use of compostable materials in University dining halls. In addition, the article highlighted the considerable research and community activity surrounding sustainability by faculty and students.

Not noted in the article is the University’s commitment to sustainable construction standards, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, or its efforts to reduce energy costs and emissions through the Energy Performance Contract and decreasing use of coal for fuel.

“These projects allow OHIO to become a leader in current energy trends within higher education,” Cadmus said.

We've got SOUL

A new program, Sustainable Ohio University Leaders, encourages students, faculty, and staff members to act as liaisons between the Office of Sustainability and their departments or organizations.

“SOUL allows the entire campus community to take meaningful action in the implementation of the Sustainability and Climate Action Plans,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of the Office of Sustainability.

Participants in the program — called SOULmates — meet regularly to review benchmarks or goals in built environments, outreach, waste reduction, and energy efficiency. They discuss what progress has been made and recommend next steps, identifying members who are responsible for each action item and work to nurture these initiatives.

“This structure allows us to empower individuals and units across all campuses, making sustainability a more interdisciplinary action at OHIO,” Cadmus said.

Click here for more information about SOUL.