GW Listed in the Sierra Club Top 20 Cool Schools of 2017

GWU Grow Garden

The George Washington University was ranked 18th from all universities in the United States in the Sierra Club’s 2017 rankings of Cool Schools. A total of 227 institutions from the Nation’s more than 2,000 four-year colleges and universities were included in the rankings, evidence that higher education institutions are investing more in sustainability.

The categories considered in the rankings included Academics, Energy, Investments, Food, Innovation, Planning, Purchasing, Transport, Waste, and Water. The area where GW made the most significant improvement this year in the ranking was on energy, due to the Capital Partners Solar Project, the 400-acre solar farm in our regional grid, shared with American University and George Washington University Hospital. Now 50 percent solar-powered for its electricity, GW is making major strides towards its commitment to being carbon neutral by 2040.

In deriving the rankings, the Sierra Club collaborated with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to gather the raw data for the rankings. The association has created what it calls its STARS Reporting Tool to give colleges and universities a method for tracking and assessing their sustainability programs.

Cool LogoSince the Cools Schools rankings began 11 years ago, higher education has come a long way in terms of incorporating sustainability values. The scoring key is a reflection of the broader priorities of the Sierra Club, such as areas of campus energy use, transportation, and fossil fuel divestment, all of which are important to addressing the climate crisis. The results show that, while many universities are making admirable progress, no school has yet attained complete sustainability. In 2017, the top-rated university scored 779.58 out of a possible 1,000 points.

The Sierra Club believes that the Cool School rankings can serve as a guide for prospective students, current students, administrators and alumni to compare colleges’ commitments to environmentalism. It also serves to spur healthy competition among schools, raise environmental standards on campus, and publicly reward the institutions that work hard to protect the planet. 

More details can be found at this link: Sierra Cool Schools 2017 ranking (