Hobart and William Smith have been ranked among the nation’s top colleges and universities leading the way in sustainability and environmental leadership in The Princeton Review’s newly released “Top 50 Green Colleges” ranking.
Among HWS’ recent points of distinction in sustainability are: offering a minor in sustainable community development, launching a Sustainable Living and Learning Community for first-year students, achieving LEED Gold for the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and establishing the first of two local solar farms.
The new “Green Colleges” ranking is part of The Princeton Review’s 2017 “Guide to 375 Green Colleges” which recognizes schools with “the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives, and activities.” Hobart and William Smith rank No. 37 overall alongside institutions such as Columbia University, Cornell University, Middlebury College, Pomona College and University of Vermont. The rating is based on data and feedback from institutional and student surveys covering everything from quality of life and environmental responsibility to preparing students for a green economy.
“This national recognition is indicative of the significant and tangible progress Hobart and William Smith have made toward our goal for carbon neutrality by 2025,” says Professor of Economics and Chair of Entrepreneurial Studies Tom Drennen, who is co-chair of the Climate Task Force. “HWS students, through their leadership and insights, have been instrumental to our sustainability efforts, whether that was becoming the first small liberal arts institution in New York to be powered solely by wind or initiating a trayless dining experience.”
At HWS, widespread sustainability efforts gained momentum in 2007 when the Colleges joined the Climate Leadership Network’s Carbon Commitment (formerly American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), making HWS a charter member of the national effort. In 2010, the Colleges launched the HWS Climate Action Plan, placing a 2025 deadline on campus climate neutrality and advancing immediate actions to make a difference.
The “Top 50 Green Colleges” ranking arrives at the same time that Hobart and William Smith are working on the final stages of completing a second solar farm with 8,600 panels on Gates Road in the Town of Seneca. The first opened in 2016 along Rt. 14 North in the Town of Geneva.
The two solar farms – together representing one of the largest solar installations at any institution of higher education in New York State – will deliver more than 50 percent of the Colleges’ electricity and provide students with hands-on learning experiences. Covering the equivalent of 14.5 football fields, the farms will generate up to five megawatts of electricity.