WKU charts at 54 on Sierra Club sustainability rankings

Mason Davis

The Sierra Club has released their Cool Schools 2017 ranking, which places WKU at 54 out of the 227 schools participating.

This system rates schools on sustainability efforts such as campus energy use, waste reduction and innovation. It is a yearly index that is self reported by the colleges participating. Data is collected by the Sierra Club and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The scoring system awards points for factors such as student commute, employee commute or facilities for bicyclists, and counts them under an overall category such as transportation. For example, an institution would get seven points for participating in some form of car sharing program.

For example, WKU has 57.21 out of 123.0 possible points for green transportation. While there is always room for improvement, this is not necessarily a low score. The highest score any school attained for transportation was Harvard University with 100.82.

The full list can be found here, and the scoring key is available here.

Western’s scores were as follows:

Co-curricular 79.50/92

Energy 136.25/264

Investments 20/95

Food 32.40/51

Innovation 40/40

Academics 38.08/86

Planning 44.98/45

Purchasing 27.23/39

Transport 57.21/123

Waste 67.92/95

Water 60/70

Total 603.56/1000

Western is among the three Kentucky schools on this list, alongside University of Louisville at 51 and Berea College at 89.

WKU is making steps to improve its sustainability. Last April, SGA voted to keep the Sustainability Committee as a permanent committee at WKU. They have since discussed and planned events and initiatives on campus.