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WCU featured in ‘The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges’

Western Carolina University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company selected WCU for inclusion in the second annual edition of its free downloadable book “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition.”

A representative from the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River discusses the organization with students at WCU's 2011 Earth and Wellness Day celebration.

A representative from the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River discusses the organization with students at WCU’s 2011 Earth and Wellness Day celebration.

Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and released two days prior to the April 22 celebration of the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, the book is the only free, comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the company polled in 2010 about their school’s sustainability initiatives.

“We are excited about our progress at Western Carolina University toward becoming a greener, more environmentally-friendly campus, and look forward to expanding those efforts in the future,” said Lauren Bishop, campus energy manager.

WCU’s profile in the recently released guide discusses the success of the “WHEE Save” campuswide energy conservation program, which is now called “Reducing Our Carbon Paw Print,” that resulted in a 10 to 15 percent reduction in energy usage on campus through behavior modification alone.

Also under way at WCU is a $5.6 million energy performance contract for several campus buildings that will introduce more energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning, lighting and building envelope modifications, and renewable energy improvements.


The guide also notes that among energy conservation achievements at WCU was a 15 percent reduction in petroleum usage in five years by introducing six neighborhood electric vehicles and switching to E10, a blend of ethanol and unleaded gas to power the campus fleet.

In addition, the report notes that 9 percent of WCU’s food budget is spent on local or organic food, and that WCU hosts a variety of efforts and projects to green the campus, including recycling drives, Campus Sustainability Day and Earth Day.

The Princeton Review first created the resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. Last fall, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president for publishing at The Princeton Review. “Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school. Together with the USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices. We highly recommend the colleges in this book.”

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC, said the council launched the Center for Green Schools with a vision of green schools for all within this generation.

“A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments, all while saving energy, water and money as part of an institution’s bottom line,” said Fedrizzi. “Partnering with The Princeton Review to provide this invaluable resource to college-bound students was a no-brainer for helping to create transformational change on these campuses.”

The free guide can be downloaded at and

For more information about WCU’s sustainability efforts, contact Lauren Bishop at or 828-227-3562.

Compiled by Teresa Killian Tate

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
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