Western Washington University placed 29th nationally and claimed the top spot in Washington state on the 2017 Cool Schools sustainability rankings done annually by the Sierra Club.
The Cool Schools list, which is available at http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/cool-schools-2017/cool-schools-2017-full-ranking, ranks participating institutions based on data in categories ranging from energy use, investments, food, innovation, and academics to planning, purchasing, transportation, water and waste. WWU not only finished as the top school in the state, but is also the second-highest public institution in the entire Pacific Northwest – the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska – behind only Oregon State University.
“It’s an honor for us to be included in the Cool Schools list, because Western’s commitment to sustainability is integrated throughout so much of what we do and who we are. ‘Walking our talk’ when it comes to sustainability is deeply important to our campus community, and we are always looking for ways to improve in that regard,” said WWU President Sabah Randhawa. “Beyond outstanding academic opportunities in our Huxley College of the Environment, or interdisciplinary programs like our Institute for Energy Studies, sustainability at Western is about finding ways to be more intentional and aware of our environmental impact.”
Western’s placement in the rankings was fueled by a host of initiatives on campus, such as being the first university in the nation to have its students impose a green-energy fee to pay for it becoming 100 percent powered by renewable energy; its academic focus on sustainability and innovation across its curricula; and student-centered efforts on campus on recycling, waste, and alternative transportation. The university’s efforts placed it ahead of such notable institutions as Stanford, Princeton, Vanderbilt, and Duke.
More than 220 institutions participated in the Cool Schools survey in 2017. The Sierra Club is the country’s largest grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1.4 million members and supporters worldwide.
For more information on Western’s sustainability efforts or the Cool Schools ranking, contact Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing at (360) 650-3350.