Green-Friendly College List Helps Eco-Minded Students

NEW YORK — For contemporary college applicants, the only school color they may concern themselves with is green — as in the verdant, all-purpose metaphoric hue for sustainable, ecologically sound and environmentally friendly practices. Higher learning centers across the nation have taken notice and have implemented programs across a spectrum of concerns — from on-campus sustainability to environmentally themed academic programs.

Following this trend is the Princeton Review, which produces an annual guide to the most environmentally responsible or “green” colleges. Now, in its eighth incarnation, the New York-based Princeton Review (which is not affiliated with Princeton University) presents its Guide to 375 Green Colleges, 2017, which profiles “colleges with the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives and activities,” according to a statement.

The Guide to 375 Green Colleges resource area is available here, where users can also peruse detailed Green Facts write-ups on many schools.

The green-friendly college list presents an array of data, including renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green-sector future employment prospects.

The 2017 edition includes a ranking list of the Top 50 Green Colleges on which College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine) captured (drumroll, please…) the No. 1 spot.

The top 15 schools on The Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges list are:

  1. College of the Atlantic (ME)
  2. State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  3. Colby College (ME)
  4. University of Vermont
  5. Dickinson College (PA)
  6. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  7. Cornell University (NY)
  8. Colorado State University
  9. Stanford University (CA)
  10. University of California, Davis)
  11. Saint Michael’s College (VT)
  12. Santa Clara University (CA)
  13. University of California, Santa Cruz
  14. Lewis & Clark College (OR)
  15. Green Mountain College (VT)

The Princeton Review selected the colleges based on its own Green Rating scores, which were tallied during summer 2017 from 629 colleges using data from its 2016-17 survey of school administrators. Questions on the survey asked them to report on their school’s sustainability-related practices and academic programs. Of note are the facts that, of these schools, 24 percent of their total food expenditures go to purchases of local and/or organic food; 68 percent of new construction on their campuses is USGBC  LEED certified; 100 percent provide undergraduate majors or degrees that are sustainability focused; and 98 percent have a sustainability officer and sustainability committee on campus. 

Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell is the associate editor at Emlen Media. He can be reached directly at He writes books, makes movies, podcasts and blogs at

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