EMU ranked among Sierra Club’s ‘Cool Schools’

The Sierra Club recently recognized Eastern Mennonite University’s strong commitment to environmentalism and sustainability with a “Cool Schools” ranking. The results of the 13th annual ranking was announced earlier this week by Sierra magazine. 

In part, the ranking comes from regional leadership at the cutting edge of solar energy innovation and collaboration, enthusiastic student involvement in environmental efforts (including a 2018 student-funded solar project that expanded EMU’s solar capacity by 65 percent), curricular integration of sustainability, LEED certified-buildings, five campus gardens and many other initiatives. 

EMU earned 191st out of 282 schools participating. Though the ranking competition is open to all four-year and two-year educational institutions in the United States, only those institutions who have achieved a valid Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating within the last three years are eligible for evaluation.

EMU earned its second consecutive STARS Silver ranking in 2017. It was first awarded a Silver ranking in 2014. STARS is a rigorous evaluation process available to universities around the world. Developed and managed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the STARS system recognizes sustainability efforts in three focus areas: curriculum and research; operations; and planning, diversity and engagement.

For the Cool Schools rankings, STARS raw data are integrated into a scoring system that “reflects the broader priorities” of the Sierra Club, awarding more points,  for example, in the areas of campus energy use, transportation and fossil fuel divestment. “Progress in these sectors is essential for addressing the climate crisis,” according to a Sierra Club “Cool Schools” website.

The full Sierra ranking of colleges and universities, including each school’s completed questionnaire, is online at https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/cool-schools-2019/cool-schools-2019-full-ranking.

Learn more about EMU’s commitment to sustainability and creation care