Sierra Magazine has once again ranked Hobart and William Smith Colleges as among “America’s Coolest Schools.” HWS were ranked 40th in the sixth annual ranking of the greenest colleges in the United States that appears in the magazine’s September/October 2012 issue. The Colleges have been rising in the rankings for the past four years, moving steadily from a position of 116th in 2009. The ranking, according to the publication, is “an index that provides comparative information about the most important elements of campus sustainability.”
“It is extremely gratifying to see the dramatic rise in rank over the past several years, coinciding with increased efforts on the part of the whole campus community to reduce the Colleges’ impact on the environment,” says James Landi ’08, sustainability manager for the Colleges.
The magazine sent a lengthy survey, the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, to colleges requesting detailed information in the areas of energy efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and sustainability initiatives in which the colleges were engaged. According to the publication, this year’s survey was the “result of the collaborative efforts of four organizations: the Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), and the Princeton Review. Its questions center on measurable environmental goals and achievements, with priority given to achievements.” It also noted there were significantly more questions than in years past as a result of this collaboration that “allowed for a broader, deeper investigation into a wide variety of environmental efforts.”
According to Sierra Magazine, its “ranking acts as a guide for prospective students who seek a way to compare colleges based on commitment to environmentalism. The ranking also serves to spur competition, create aspirational standards, and publicly reward the institutions that work hard to protect the planet.”
The Sierra ranking is among a number of notable mentions the Colleges have received of late. Most recently in the area of sustainability, Princeton Review named HWS as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” Hobart and William Smith’s green efforts were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of “100 Percent Green Power Purchasers” in January 2012. Additionally, the Colleges were recognized by the Sustainability Endowment Institute last year, when it assigned HWS a grade of B+ in its annual Sustainability Report Card.
This year, according to Princeton Review‘s 2012 edition of “The Best 376 Colleges,” the Colleges are among the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education, and HWS have been included in “The Fiske Guide to Colleges,” as part of the 2013 revised and updated edition. SmartMoney has recognized Hobart and William Smith as an exceptional investment, listing the Colleges as 10th in its ranking of “Colleges that Help Grads Get Top Salaries” in the category of private colleges.