UCR recognized as environmentally friendly campus

Courtesy of Lin Chai

UC Riverside has been recognized by “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition” for its green practices. The guide, which was released April 17 and includes a profile of each school’s progress in sustaining a green campus, stated that in the areas of “academics, buildings, energy and climate, food, procurement, recycling and waste management, sites, transportation, and water…[UC Riverside] is maintaining aggressive initiatives.” In total, 768 campuses were evaluated by the Princeton Review and given a score ranging from 60-99, with 83 considered a “passing” score; UC Riverside received a score of 95.

Weston Lewis, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) analyst for the campus and one of the individuals responsible for the LEED certification, shared his reaction with the Highlander. “It was definitely a positive that we’re recognized. Now we’re really able to show our commitment to our sustainability,” stated Lewis.

Lewis is currently working on trying to get more students and members of the community involved with on-campus initiatives aimed at promoting a green future. He also stated that it is his goal to have every new building that’s constructed at UC Riverside to receive a minimum LEED rating of Silver standard. One of the achievements that the Princeton Review gave special attention to was the LEED Gold Certification that was awarded to the UC Riverside’s School of Medicine Research Building.

John Cook, campus sustainability coordinator, described the role of sustainability as a consideration of “social impact, environmental impact and financial impact.” These factors comprise a triple bottom-line which are the basis for any awards and recognitions for green campuses. Cook has held the position of the program’s coordinator for a year and a half and stated that UC Riverside started its path toward becoming a green campus in 2003. Compared to other schools, this was a late start, but the campus has made significant strides since; in 2011 and 2012, UC Riverside was designated an American College & Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signatory and with the honor of Summa Cum Laude.

Infrastructure, food and academics are among the sectors that UC Riverside has continued to excel in. For instance, UC Riverside gets 29-32 percent of its eggs from campus operations and offers degrees in environmental studies where students can earn professional certificates in sustainable development and green building design. Cook explained the importance of sustainability by pointing out that UC Riverside’s reputation is now closely tied with being green. “[Students and faculty] want to be at a campus that has [sustainability] as a concern. It’s an ethos. It’s the same way people want to come to UCR for its diversity.”

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