UConn ranks among Sierra Club’s Top 10 “Cool Schools”

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School ranking was determined by a variety of factors that reflect the environmental values of the Sierra Club. Photo courtesy to the University of Connecticut Photography Database.

The University of Connecticut has made the Sierra Club’s top 10 “Cool Schools” once again, claiming the No. 8 spot for the second time. 

The Sierra Club, a national environmental advocacy organization, created the “Cool Schools” ranking to rank top universities by their “eco bona fides and environmental commitments,” per the Sierra Club website. UConn reached the top 10 out of 328 colleges that participated. 

The Sierra Club states on its website that the purpose of the “Cool School” ranking is to inspire competition among colleges to strive for a more environmentally conscious world. 

“We hope that our annual ranking can serve as a guide for prospective students, current students, administrators, and alumni to compare colleges’ commitments to environmentalism,” the website reads. “It also serves to spur healthy competition among schools, raise environmental standards on campus, and publicly reward the institutions that work hard to protect the planet.”  

School ranking was determined by a variety of factors that reflect the environmental values of the Sierra Club. 

“Our scoring system reflects the broader priorities of the Sierra Club,” the website reads. “For example, we award a significant percentage of points in the areas of campus energy use, transportation, and fossil fuel divestment because the Sierra Club believes that progress in these sectors is essential for addressing the climate crisis.”  

Reacting to the list, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said it took a university-wide approach to reach this achievement. 

“UConn’s students are a critical part of the University’s sustainability efforts, and they’ve driven many of its most impactful changes,” Reitz said. “UConn’s ‘green’ efforts are underway every day in areas ranging from the way we source our food for the dining halls to the design and materials in our building construction projects. It’s great to see that work recognized on a national scale in these rankings and is a real credit to our students and others who care deeply and work hard on these initiatives.” 

Richard Miller, director of UConn’s Office of Sustainability, told UConn Today that the university has been especially active in the environmentalist movement, and has been striving to become more environmentally conscious. 

“It seems like everyone at UConn wants to be a part of the sustainability movement,” Miller said. “Hardly a semester goes by when we’re not collaborating on a new initiative with a different UConn partner, like last spring semester when we worked with UConn’s Werth Institute to organize a sustainability-themed UConn Hack-a-thon.” 

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