Feature Stories

Share this Story

Virginia Wesleyan Named Among Nation's Most Environmentally Responsible Colleges

VWU featured in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition

University News | October 20, 2020

Virginia Wesleyan University is one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. VWU is one of 416 colleges featured in the education services company’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition, released October 20.

Schools were chosen based on a 2019-20 survey of administrators at 695 colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. Editors analyzed more than 25 survey data points in the process.

"We strongly recommend Virginia Wesleyan University to students who want to study and live at a green college," said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief. "Each and every one of the outstanding colleges in this edition of our guide offers both excellent academics and exemplary evidence of environmental commitment. "

Franek noted that The Princeton Review has seen a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings. Sixty-six percent of the 12,845 respondents (college-bound teens and parents) to The Princeton Review's 2020 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that having information about a college's commitment to the environment would affect their (or their child's) decision to apply to or attend a school.

Guide to Green Colleges profiles include "Green Facts" sections detailing matters such as the availability of transportation alternatives on campus and the percentage of the college food budget spent on local/organic food. Profiles also provide information about the schools' enrollment requirements, cost, financial aid, and student body demographics.

The Virginia Wesleyan University community is dedicated to a greener campus and a greener world. In addition to its consistent selection for the Green Colleges guide, VWU has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for its sustainability practices:

  • Opened the LEED Gold certified Greer Environmental Sciences Center in fall 2017, offering unprecedented opportunities for students through its indoor and outdoor classroom spaces and teaching and research laboratories, and fostering collaboration with like-minded organizations such as the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center.
  • Also in 2017, launched the Batten Honors College, a highly-selective program aiming to educate impactful global citizens through an environmental focus, an international study-away experience, and leadership training and development.
  • Honored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in 2018 with its top "Conservationist of the Year" award, which recognizes the Greer Environmental Sciences Center and the University’s vision and dedication to educating the next generation of Bay leaders.
  • Recently advanced to the top tier Model Level status in the Elizabeth River Project’s River Star Business program.
  • Installed a SmartFlower solar system on campus, which generates 40 percent more energy than a traditional fixed solar panel.
  • In summer 2018 and 2019, hosted the Environmental Explorers camp in partnership with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads’ Camp Red Feather and the Virginia Wesleyan Environmental Institute: Summer Scholars Program for ninth-grade girls interested in in E-STEM fields.
  • Received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for “Vermicompost from Stormwater Phycoremediation,” a 2018-2019 project studying the use of phycoremediation to remove water pollutants from stormwater ponds and treatment wetlands.
  • A member of a select group of 440 institutions nationwide in the Climate Leadership Network, comprised of colleges and universities taking action on climate and preparing students through research and education to solve the challenges of the 21st century.
  • In 2020, VWU President Scott D. Miller completed a two-year term as Chair of The Climate Leadership Network and he currently sits on the board of the prominent national environmental advocacy organization Second Nature. He has also declared October 5 as Energy Efficiency Day at Virginia Wesleyan University.
  • A participant in the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance partnership, a coalition dedicated to helping recover the Bay’s oyster populations, and a member of Virginia’s No Child Left Inside Coalition, a collaborative effort between organizations to promote outdoor learning.
  • Selected by the PepsiCo Recycling Zero Impact Fund program to receive funding for two solar-powered umbrellas and two human-powered desk bicycles that function on campus as sustainable cell-phone charging stations for students.

Virginia Wesleyan University is also included in the 2021 edition of The Princeton Review’s Best 386 Colleges and featured in the Southeastern category of 2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region.