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K-State Today

April 18, 2012

Sustaining excellence: Green Guidebook again recognizes university for sustainability efforts

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University is being recognized for being among the greenest colleges in the U.S. and Canada for the third year in a row.

The university is listed in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2120 Edition," published by the Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. K-State is just one of two public universities in Kansas to make the list this year and the only private or public university in Kansas to make the list for the third consecutive year.

The nod is given to universities that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. K-State's most recent efforts include participating in a recycling contest, winning an energy competition, opening a recycling center, constructing environmentally friendly buildings and monitoring energy use in campus buildings.

"K-State is being recognized for the practical steps we have taken throughout the university to incorporate sustainability into our programming," said Ben Champion, the university's director of sustainability. "We keep developing our campus recycling and composting programs, we won an energy efficiency competition, our academic programs are doing more research related to sustainability topics, and we're pulling those themes into the classroom. With sustainability as one of the common elements of the university becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025, we're making sure that sustainability is central to how we look at the university moving forward."

Making the guide is just one of the strides the university is making to go green.

* The honor comes following the results of RecycleMania, an annual college recycling competition to reduce waste and increase recycling. In the eight-week RecycleMania competition that lasted from Feb. 5 to March 31, K-State finished second in the Big 12 in the grand champion category and third in the Big 12 in the per capita category. The university improved its recycling rate in the competition to 23.8 percent, up from 19.3 percent last year.

* The university and Manhattan won the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge energy efficiency competition against Lawrence and the University of Kansas. K-State and Manhattan won the competition by completing energy audits, retrofitting houses and changing lightbulbs, earning the community a $100,000 grant to apply toward energy efficiency initiatives.

 * In February the university opened a campus recycling center between Weber Hall and Hoeflin Stone House to separate, sort and bale materials. The center will help the university decrease the amount of material that goes to the landfill and turn recyclable material into new products.

* Recent construction shows the university's commitment to sustainability. The university will seek LEED silver certification for a 13,180-square-foot addition now under construction at Justin Hall, home to the College of Human Ecology. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized ratings system developed by the U.S. Green Council. The School of Leadership Studies building, completed in 2009, is LEED gold certified, and the retail and food service building at Jardine Apartment Complex earned LEED gold certification for commercial interiors in 2011.

* The university has opened an energy management system in Dykstra Hall to monitor real-time energy use at campus buildings and identify ways to conserve energy, while the Division of Facilities recently purchased six used all-terrain electric utility vehicles to replace gas-powered ones. Other efforts include composting food waste from campus dining facilities, growing vegetables and fruit at a student farm and encouraging student participation in such organizations as Greeks Go Green.

The Princeton Review's free guide is available at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.