WKU earns ‘Green College’ recognition once again

Michael McKay

WKU’s sustainable practices have earned the university recognition for the third year in a row.

WKU was listed in Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition for the third consecutive year. Other Kentucky schools, specifically Northern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville, join WKU for the first time.

The guidebook lists information on the sustainable practices of 322 colleges and universities. WKU’s entry in the guide lists all of the university’s sustainable programs, certifications, and “green facts” about the school.

Some of the recent sustainable additions are the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in Ransdell Hall, the Establishment of a Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities, and the sustainability concentration in the MBA program.

Associate professor Brian Sullivan was the first faculty member to win the President’s Award for Sustainability, which recognized his incorporation of sustainability in the MBA program.

Sullivan said that understanding sustainability has become an important part of doing business internationally.

“If you’re doing business in the EU, you have to be concerned about your carbon,” he said.

Earlier in the year, WKU was ranked by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS), which gives the university a ranking based on how sustainable they are.

WKU received a bronze rating with 38.42 points from AASHE STARS. The cutoff for silver beings at 45 points.

John Osborne, vice president for Campus Services and Facilities, said the assessment would allow WKU to improve on its sustainability.

“It is the guide and the benchmark from which we aspire to use to embellish and improve our performance and our activities,” Osborne said.

Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan-Downing said in a press release that she believes WKU can always score higher.

“To make the Princeton Review Green Guide, a college must score in the 83rd percentile or above. That’s pretty good, but not good enough for Hilltoppers,”  Ryan-Downing said. “We’re striving for the 99th percentile or above, and if we continue at the rate we’re going, we’re pretty confident we can make it.”