Catawba One of Best Green Colleges in Nation
Catawba College was one of only 21 colleges nationwide to earn the highest possible score in the Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Rating Honor Roll.
The company tallied the rating for 806 institutions on environmentally related practices, policies and academic offerings based on its institutional surveys of colleges in 2011-12. The list appears on www.PrincetonReview.com and in the new 2013 editions of two Princeton Review guidebooks published by Random House, Inc: “The Complete Book of Colleges” and “The Best 377 Colleges.”
Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior vice president and publisher, noted the rising interest among students in attending “green” colleges. Among 7,445 college applicants Princeton Review surveyed in 2012 for its “College Hopes & Worries Survey,” 68 percent said having information about a college's commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school.
The institutional survey for the rating included questions on energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation as well as academic offerings and action plans for reducing greenhouse gas emission.
Catawba Committed to Sustainable Energy Path
Catawba College is participating in the Appalachian Energy Summit collaborative initiative. A partnership of Rocky Mountain Institute and Appalachian State University, the initiative invites campuses in the UNC system and North Carolina-based private colleges and universities to commit to saving energy and creating a “strategic sustainable energy path for the mutual benefit of [their] students, the environment and the world.”
A diverse group of faculty, staff and students from Catawba, including President Brien Lewis and Center for the Environment Executive Director John Wear, attended workshops at the initial summit in July. Amory Lovins, whose Rocky Mountain Institute partners with the Center on its National Environmental Summit, was the keynote speaker.
The college has committed to a number of goals, including developing a campus-based energy management program and a “stretch goal” for energy reduction for the year 2020.
Wear applauded the college’s participation in this collaborative venture. “It speaks volumes about Brien Lewis’ commitment to sustainability that so many people from Catawba attended this summit,” he said. “We are truly on a ‘sustainable energy path.’”
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Catawba Establishes Green Revolving Fund
Catawba College increased its institutional commitment to sustainability this year by agreeing to create a green revolving fund that will loan money to finance on-campus investments in clean energy and efficiency projects. With this commitment, Catawba joins 41 other institutions, mainly colleges and universities, in the U.S. and Canada that are part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge.
Green revolving funds (GRFs) capture the savings from lower utility bills, using that money to reinvest in more energy-efficiency projects, continuing the cycle of energy savings.
Over the next four years, the college will set aside $400,000 in funds that will provide the principal for the Catawba Green Revolving Fund. This fund will be managed by a committee of campus community members.
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Professional Group to Help with Sustainability Assessment
A professional group with offices in Raleigh and Asheville has agreed to help with a campus-wide sustainability assessment free of charge.
Waste Management Partners (WMP), a team of experienced staff and volunteer retired engineers, architects and scientists, provides North Carolina businesses and institutions with waste and energy reduction assessments and technical assistance. Their services are typically financed through grants or technical service contracts at no cost to the institution.
“WMP already has funding in place to do professional assessments on two of our campus buildings,” says John Wear, executive director of the Center for the Environment. “This is a very impressive group. I think their assessment will help us get a good solid start on our sustainability efforts.”
The college will use the assessment in the development of its sustainability plan.