Claremont, Calif. (September 9, 2016) – Pitzer College is one of the nation’s 40 greenest higher education institutions, according to the Sierra Club’s 2016 Cool Schools Rankings published in Sierra magazine. Pitzer ranked 38 among 201 schools across the US.
One of the first colleges in the country to launch an environmental studies program, Pitzer College has promoted environmental awareness for nearly 50 years and counts sustainability as one of its five core values. The College is home to the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability and was the first college in Southern California to divest from fossil-fuel stocks.
Pitzer has been on the forefront of green building on college campuses.
In 2007, the College built four mixed-use residence halls that scored a Gold LEED rating from the US Green Building Council. In 2012, the College completed the second phase of its residential life project, earning top marks with a Platinum LEED rating for four additional mixed-use buildings. To date, 48 percent of all buildings on campus are LEED-certified.
Pitzer saves up to 90,000 gallons of water per month with its graywater system. Drought-tolerant landscaping and water-efficient irrigation has helped Pitzer cut its water use in half since 2002.
The College teaches and lives best environmental sustainability practices through its on-campus programs. Pitzer’s composting program collects 25,000 pounds of food waste from the dining hall and students started a food recovery program that donated over 1,100 pounds of food last spring. The student-led ReRoom Initiative re-uses and recycles household items that would otherwise end up in the landfill when students move out at the end of the year. The Pitzer Green Initiative Fund supports student-led sustainability initiatives like these so undergraduates can convert their environmental education into practical solutions.
In 2016, the College earned a STARS Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Princeton Review most recently named Pitzer a top “green college” in its 2017 edition of The 381 Best Colleges. In 2014, Niche named Pitzer the greenest college in the US.
Pomona College was also recognized by the Sierra Club, ranking #40 on the Cool Schools list.
Sierra Club collaborated with AASHE to gather the raw data for the rankings. The institutions were evaluated in 11 categories, including academics, energy, innovation and water use.