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How To Pick The Most Sustainable College

Do you want to go to college based on which one recycles the most? There are now a plethora of lists and rankings to help make that decision. This infographic breaks down some of the ways the nation’s cleanest colleges are ranked.

How much an institute of higher learning cares about the environment is increasingly becoming a factor that prospective students consider when deciding where to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education. We already profiled the Princeton Review’s list of the most sustainable schools, which included Harvard, Northeastern, and Arizona State.

Now there’s a new infographic, from Online Schools, that breaks down some of the other rankings of colleges based on their environmental credentials, with slightly different results. The College Sustainability Report Card found that a majority of colleges deserve a "B" for their efforts at doing things like increasing recycling and reducing energy use. Just 16% got an A, but that’s better than the just 6% that got a D.

There is also this map based on rankings from the Sierra Club, which shows sustainable colleges exist only in four states, three of which you can guess. North Carolina’s Warren Wilson (which also featured prominently in the Princeton Review report) is the only school not in California, Washington, or Vermont.

Whether or not campus recycling programs are actually attracting applicants remains to be seen, but the vast differences between the various lists (and we expect to see more) says more that we still lack a simple way to measure sustainability policies in a meaningful way. Whether or not schools are using hybrid cars for shuttles may not really be the most important thing.

You can see the whole infographic here, or view it below: