VWU Again Named Among Most Environmentally Responsible Universities

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Virginia Wesleyan is profiled in The Princeton Review's 2019 Guide to Green Colleges


University News | October 22, 2019

Virginia Wesleyan University is one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review. VWU is featured in the education services company’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2019 Edition, released October 22.

The Princeton Review chose the 413 profiled schools based on a 2018-2019 survey of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability.

"We salute—and strongly recommend—Virginia Wesleyan University to the many environmentally-minded students who want to study and live at a green college," said Rob Franek, Editor-in-Chief of The Princeton Review.

Franek noted that college applicants and their parents are increasingly concerned about the environment and sustainability issues. Among the 11,900 teens and parents The Princeton Review surveyed earlier this year for its 2019 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said that having information about a college's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.

The profiles in the Green Colleges guide provide information about admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body demographics. They also include "Green Facts" about the schools, with details on such matters as the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.  

“Virginia Wesleyan University’s dedication to going green is palpable and inspiring," The Princeton Review cites in VWU's profile. "The school makes a concerted effort to implement sustainable practices in as many realms as possible.”

Colleges were chosen for the Guide to Green Colleges based on a "Green Rating" tallied for 689 colleges in summer 2019. The survey asked administrators to report on their schools’ sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. More than 25 data points were analyzed, and colleges with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into the guide.

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 project studying the use of phycoremediation to remove water pollutants from stormwater ponds and treatment wetlands. The project spans from December 2018 to November 2019.
  • 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.
  • VWU President Scott D. Miller serves as chair of the Climate Leadership Network Steering Committee and sits on the board of the prominent national environmental advocacy organization Second Nature. He also recently 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.