As many of you know, we just returned from dropping off our son, Andrew, at Duke University last week. We are very excited for him as it was his first choice school and he will be fencing for its Division I fencing team. We can only hope that he’d have the best time of his life during the next four years there. The school is beautiful and the administration did a superb job during the orientation to keep the students busy with a ton of activities – probably so that they won’t get homesick or notice that their families are not around anymore.
Having said, it took a sizable amount of effort to keep my composure as I was leaving the campus. But I couldn’t help but to feel proud that he’s attending not just one of the best schools in the country, academically, but also one of the best green colleges in the country. It turns out, universities are not competing for just academic rankings anymore; there are as many rankings as there are colleges. And one of the rankings that I view as being just as important as academic rankings is the sustainability ranking. In fact, I posted an article about green colleges and where some of the colleges we visited last spring were on the prestigious Sierra Club’s Green College Rankings.
Since then, there have been more published lists and rankings and when we found out that he’s been accepted to Duke, I immediately went to check where Duke University is on this year’s list of green colleges.
I am happy to report that Duke ranked 9th on The Daily Green’s list, 54 on the prestigious Sierra Club’s list of cool green collegs (Duke came down to 54 in 2010 from 23 in 2009 mainly due to the fact that more and more colleges are becoming green and taking steps to be more sustainable which makes the rankings more prestigious and competitive), and made the Princeton’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges List (not ranked). Duke also made The Daily Green’s list of greenest college cafeterias.
There are many big and small colleges that are on these prestigious lists and even if you don’t have college aged kids, you should be aware of them. Why? Because these young college co-eds will decide our future one day. We need to make sure that they are thinking along the line of preserving and taking actions for the better future, that they are actually living the talk of taking care of the environment are not just being taught about it in classes.
So what does Duke University do that is so green?
You can read all about the specifics of what Duke University does in Princeton’s Green College Guide but let me tell you, what I witnessed on campus was, that all that published gibberish was not a lie. Take a look at some of the pictures I took from various places on campus.
These notices were posted in the girls bathroom in one of the dorms.
And in the hotel owned by Duke, where we stayed, there were these filtered water stations in the lounge areas.
And during the orientation, these compost and recycling stations were obvious presence at the picnic.
And some bathroom had these unique toilet flushing systems to save water. I thought this was the most clever!!
In more detail from The Daily Green and the Princeton Guide: