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Two California schools among America’s most sustainable colleges

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A myriad of factors go into choosing an institution of higher education. Increasingly, more students are considering a school’s environmental performance as a deciding reason.

As reported by Fast Company, the Princeton Review’s latest “Hopes and Worries” survey of 7445 students on their way to college, 68% remarked that a dedication to sustainability affects their final decision.

It was a substantial enough number for the Princeton Review to get with the U.S. Green Building Council to rank 320 U.S. (and two Canadian) colleges on sustainability. The rankings were based on campus green initiatives, the degree to which sustainability is embedded in the course curriculum, and how well the school prepares students for green jobs upon graduation.

Out of those schools, 16 were selected for special recognition on the “Green Honor Roll. Two California schools made that list: University of California Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.

"The best integrate sustainability across their community, how they manage their finances, their academic offerings, and their operations. They don’t treat sustainability as an add-on or extra-credit assignment," says Rachel Gutter, director of the Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools. "They don’t have an environmental studies major, and call it a day. They are actually looking at how sustainability is woven into every single major and minor."

Among the accolades, San Francisco State was recognized for having a variety of environmentally focused degrees and composting all food waste on campus. UC-Santa Cruz is already ranked among the top ten green power purchasing schools in America. The Santa Cruz campus was noted for a 70 percent waste diversion rate, and for gleaning 20 percent of all energy from renewable sources.