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K-State Today

April 22, 2011

Creating a sustainabile future: K-State honored in guide to green colleges

Submitted by Bethany Bohn

Kansas State University's sustainability efforts are earning national recognition. K-State has been named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada and is listed in the second annual edition of the free downloadable book, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition."

 K-State and Southwestern College in Winfield are the only two Kansas higher education institutions selected for the honor. K-State also was included in the first edition of the guide in 2010.

Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges" is a comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. Selection of schools for the guide was based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the Princeton Review polled in 2010 about their school's sustainability initiatives.

Ben Champion, K-State director of sustainability, appreciates the exposure for university sustainability initiatives the guide provides to prospective students.

"I'm always looking for really passionate and engaged students to work with," he said. "The more of them we can attract to K-State, the better our work is going to be. I'm glad the Princeton Review was supportive of that."

In the guide, K-State is cited for its plan to achieve environmental, social and economic sustainability that encompasses the university's curriculum, research, outreach and operations. The university offers courses pertaining to sustainability in many departments, ranging from agriculture to aviation. Faculty are involved in many aspects of sustainability research such as energy-efficient lighting, sustainable building and green design, textile recycling, supply chain sustainability and more. Outreach efforts through K-State Research and Extension and the university's involvement in the Take Charge! Challenge energy efficiency competition with the University of Kansas also helped K-State's selection for the guide.

 Another key selection factor is that K-State has the first LEED-certified buildings on a Kansas college or university campus. The university's new Leadership Studies Building recently received LEED Gold certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized ratings system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. K-State also is awaiting LEED-certification for recent additions to the Jardine Apartment Complex.

Recycling is emphasized at K-State through the Game Day Recycling program at home football games and the university's participation in the RecycleMania competition. Other sustainability efforts include the composting of food waste from campus dining facilities and encouraging student participation in sustainability efforts through campus organizations like Students for Environmental Action, USGBC Students and Greeks Go Green. K-State also has a student farm where students can grow their own vegetables and fruits.

"College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," said Robert Franek, senior vice president of publishing for the Princeton Review. "Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' nearly seven out of 10 -- or 69 percent -- said having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he added. "Together with the U.S. Green Building Council, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices.  We highly recommend the colleges in this book."

The free guide can be downloaded at Princeton Review and green guide.