UNC Asheville is growing greener this fall, with another consecutive year in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges. The 2018 edition was published October 16 and includes 399 colleges in the unranked list.
“There are a handful of colleges in the world that include sustainability as a core value in their strategic plans. UNC Asheville doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walks, each and every day,” said UNC Asheville’s Director of Sustainability Sonia Marcus.
The Princeton Review chose the schools for this ninth annual edition of its “green guide” based on data from the company’s 2017-18 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools’ commitments to the environment and sustainability.
“We are proud to have published this guide since 2010, but we are particularly pleased to release our 2018 edition at this time as October has been designated National Campus Sustainability Month,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “To all students wanting to study and live at a green college, we strongly recommend the outstanding schools we identify and profile in this guide.”
UNC Asheville scores a “green rating” of 90 out of 99, with the guide noting the university’s sustainability committee and sustainability officer, sustainability-focused degrees, and transportation alternatives such as bike share, car share, shuttles and transit passes.
Additional accolades for the university’s commitment to sustainability have come from The Sierra Club, which named UNC Asheville one of 14 Pollinator-Friendly Campus in September based on its certification as a Bee Campus, in 2016 and renewed in 2018. The university celebrated its newest certification as a Tree Campus USA in March. Rhoades Hall earned LEED Gold Certification in 2015.
Annual campaigns on campus include fall and spring semester Greenfests, Flip the Switch to reduce electricity use, AsheFILL It UP to reduce waste and support local nonprofits, as well as ongoing undergraduate and faculty research including projects funded by the McCullough Institute. The Student Environmental Center leads several initiatives including campus gardens, campus-wide composting, and the Free Store, and community neighbors are invited to learn more and to participate in events year-round, including the annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad.
UNC Asheville’s Dining Services, operated by Chartwells, also is a leader in this area. Since 2015, Dining Services has partnered with Food Connection, a local nonprofit who recovers unused, leftover food and delivers it to community organizations that feed people who need it most. In 2017, UNC Asheville became the first designated Fair Trade Campus in North Carolina, and the university’s main dining hall became a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). Just this fall, Dining Services added the Blended Burger (combining local and humane certified Hickory Nut Gap beef and local mushrooms) to its menu, after a successful spring pilot program. Through its FEEDS initiative (Farm-Forward Eating and Environmentally-Driven Sustainability), Dining Services focuses on sourcing more local ingredients and reducing waste, making strides to improve its ecological footprint.
UNC Asheville ranks highly in numerous publications by The Princeton Review, recently earning a spot on the top 20 lists for “Best Quality of Life” and “Town-Gown Relations are Great.” UNC Asheville ranks No. 2 nationally for the “Best Schools for Making an Impact,” in The Princeton Review’s Colleges that Pay You Back.
For more information on sustainability at UNC Asheville, visit https://www.unca.edu/life/sustainability/.