Education and Sustainability

West Michigan schools rank among 'Green Colleges' in US

April 28, 2015
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GVSU Waste stuff
GVSU students help compost and recycle materials at a home football game. Courtesy GVSU

A trio of colleges in the region have scored high enough to be considered some of the nation’s “Green Colleges.”

The Princeton Review released its sixth-annual “Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition” this month, recognizing Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University among the top colleges with exceptional commitments to sustainability.

Each of the three West Michigan-based academic institutions were selected for receiving a green rating between 60 and 99 points, which was based on results from surveying administrators on more than 25 factors, such as sustainability-related policies, practices and programs.


With more than 1,800 undergraduates, Aquinas College in Grand Rapids posts a green rating of 86 from The Princeton Review. A couple of the college’s “green facts” include having a formal sustainability committee and 100 percent of new construction is LEED certified. The college also has a 79 percent waste-diversion rate, and 45 percent of its food budget is spent on local and organic food.


GVSU posts a green rating of 96. Several of GVSU’s “green facts” include a 43 percent waste-diversion rate, 77 percent of new construction is LEED certified and 24 percent of its food budget is spent on local and organic food. GVSU also has a formal sustainability committee and offers a sustainability-focused degree. The school serves more than 21,000 undergraduates.


WMU posts a green rating of 94 and also provides a sustainability-focused degree. The guide says the university has a formal sustainability committee, spends 32 percent of its food budget on local and organic food, has a 37 percent waste-diversion rate and 39 percent of new construction is LEED certified. The school serves roughly 18,800 undergraduates.

The guide

The annual “Green Colleges” guide profiles the most environmentally responsible green colleges based on academic programming and career preparation for students, as well as campus policies, initiatives and activities.

Each academic institution included in The Princeton Review’s guide outlines admission requirements, cost and financial aid, use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs.

While about 347 schools in the 2015 edition are based in the U.S., five academic institutions are in Canada and one is based in Egypt.

Other Michigan colleges

Several other academic institutions based in Michigan are recognized in The Princeton Review’s “Green Colleges” guide: Albion College, Central Michigan University, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. 

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