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OHIO earns national recognition for sustainability, recycling efforts

Published: November 14, 2019 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University has been named to two national rating lists for its sustainability efforts.

According to The Princeton Review, OHIO is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges or universities in the nation. In addition, OHIO was selected by the website Great Value Colleges as one of the top 50 Colleges (#23) with the Best Recycling Programs for 2019.

The Princeton Review features OHIO in its just-published free resource, The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition. Released in late October, the guide can be accessed at https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/green-guide.

"We salute — and strongly recommend — Ohio University to the many environmentally-minded students who want to study and live at a green college," said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief.

Franek noted that college applicants and their parents are increasingly concerned about the environment and sustainability issues. Among the 11,900 teens and parents The Princeton Review surveyed earlier this year for its 2019 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64% said that having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.

Elaine Goetz, director of sustainability at OHIO, feels that in recent years incoming students have placed a higher value on sustainability.

“Each year the student voices for sustainable actions, particularly connected to climate change, grow stronger,” she said. “Ohio University has prioritized sustainability and I think that really matters to many students.”

The profiles in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges provide information about admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body demographics. They also include "Green Facts" about the schools, with details on such matters as the availability of transportation alternatives and the percentage of food budgets spent on local/organic food.

The Princeton Review chose the 413 schools it profiles in the guide based on a survey the company conducted in 2018–19 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability.

On the Great Value Colleges list Ohio University was selected specifically for its recycling and zero waste programs.

Great Value Colleges is an online resource for prospective students. The website’s mission is to provide students with information “to get the best possible education for your money,” and aims to help individuals find their best degree option and the best college to earn that degree, while also providing resources for career options after graduation.

OHIO was lauded for implementing innovative recycling solutions and encouraging staff, faculty, and students to recycle as often as possible. It noted the approximately 16,000 recycling containers in OHIO residence halls and offices and was “incredibly impressed with Ohio University’s composting system.”

The composting system, which is partially solar-powered, is the largest in-vessel composting unit at an American university and turns leftover food into soil in about six months. The compost is used on campus flower beds, landscaping, and intramural fields, which has effectively eliminated the need for synthetic fertilizers on campus.

Andrew Ladd, Manager of Campus Recycling & Zero Waste at OHIO, was thankful to hear of the accolades.

“The university has prioritized recycling and landfill diversion for decades, and it’s great that the hard work of my current staff, including dozens of students, is being recognized,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but we continue to make progress towards becoming a zero waste institution.”

This fall OHIO Athletics has instituted changes to game-day experiences in support of sustainability, adding compost collection during football games in Peden Stadium and new recycling, composting and landfill bins to the Convocation Center for home basketball, wrestling and volleyball games. These programs will contribute to the University’s Sustainability Plan and zero waste goals and hopefully encourage more students to choose OHIO, in part for its commitment to sustainability.