Eastern Illinois University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review.
The well-known education services company selected EIU for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of its free downloadable book, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition."
Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the guide is the only free, comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the company polled in 2011 about their school's sustainability initiatives.
"It is an honor to be recognized as a university leader in green," said Ryan Siegel, EIU' s campus energy and sustainability coordinator. "This recognizes Eastern's commitment to being green in all aspects of operations from curriculum to facilities.
"Our Renewable Energy Center has allowed the university to make a large leap forward and to set itself apart from other universities in the country. The new Center for Clean Energy and Education is allowing walls between departments to fall, bringing a collaborative and well-rounded approach to education as Eastern prepares students for the future.
"We look forward to a positive future where we educate students that being green makes economic sense and includes being a good steward of the resources provided," he added.
Released just days prior to the April 22 celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, the guide has profiles of the colleges that provide application information, plus facts, stats and write-ups reporting on the schools' environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings.
Eastern' s profile reads, in part, that "With all of its sustainability initiatives coming to fruition, Eastern Illinois University is proving why it was 'green before it became a buzzword.' "
Also, since Eastern implemented its recycling practices, "more than a million pounds of waste have been diverted from landfills each year for the past 12 years, while cutting yearly waste production from 4.1 million pounds to 3.2 millions during that same span."
The profile also mentions EIU's commitment to planting and maintaining trees, performance contracts that have cut energy and potable water consumption, recycling programs in every building across campus, and the use of green certified cleaning products.
Additionally, the profile mentions the university's recently completed Renewable Energy Center, which utilizes biomass gasification and replaces the coal plant that had fueled the campus for nearly 80 years.
The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. In Fall 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.
"College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," said Robert Franek, senior vice president/publisher, The Princeton Review. "Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 College Hopes & Worries Survey, nearly seven out of 10 (68 percent) told us that having information about a school' s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.
"Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices. To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book."