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VWU Featured in The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2023 Edition

The University is among 455 institutions chosen based on its commitment to the environment and sustainability

University News | October 27, 2022

Virginia Wesleyan is one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features VWU in its most recent edition of The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2023 Edition.

The Princeton Review chose the 455 schools in the guide based on its survey of administrators at 713 colleges in 2021-22 about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The company's editors analyzed more than 25 survey data points to select the schools.

"We strongly recommend Virginia Wesleyan University to the increasing number of students who care about the environment and want their ‘best-fit’ college to also ideally be a green one," said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief. “Virginia Wesleyan demonstrates an exemplary commitment to sustainability and to green practices—and it offers excellent academic programs.”   

Franek noted that The Princeton Review has seen an increasing level of interest among students in attending colleges with green practices, programs, and offerings. Seventy-seven percent of the more than 10,000 college applicants that participated in The Princeton Review's 2022 College Hopes & Worries Survey said that having information about a college's commitment to the environment would affect their decision to apply to or attend a school. This is an 11 percent increase over the 66 percent indicated on the same survey conducted in 2020. 

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.
  • One of 58 select colleges and universities nationwide, along with 102 other endowed institutions, that are members of the Intentional Endowments Network, the leading network for endowment fiduciaries investing for a thriving, sustainable economy.
  • Developed the Environmental Guiding Principles of Virginia Wesleyan University as an affirmation of commitment to ethical conduct and social responsibility through environmental stewardship, and as a way to ensure VWU's environmental prioritization under all leadership (current and future).
  • VWU’s endowment grew to $123 million in the 2021-22 academic year, including an $80.2 million endowment for the environmentally focused Batten Honors College. The BHC funds are invested in an environmentally friendly way, including the adoption of long-term investment strategies that create an equitable, low-carbon, and regenerative economy.

Virginia Wesleyan University is also included in the 2023 edition of The Princeton Review’s Best 388 Colleges and featured in the Southeastern category of 2022 Best Colleges: Region by Region.