Western Washington University ranked 19th in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 20 largest green power universities in the country and was listed as one of the most environmentally conscious American universities by the Princeton Review.
The Review published the “Guide to 322 Green Colleges” on April 16, listing 320 American and two Canadian universities that exhibit notable sustainability practices, according to a Western press release.
School rankings are based on administrative responses to a 50-question survey conducted in 2012. Western scored a 91 on a scale from 60 to 99. The survey includes questions about campus infrastructure, course offerings and career preparation to measure commitments to sustainability and the environment, according to the press release.
The EPA and the Review highlighted Western’s student-run recycling center as a unique example of sustainability efforts. The center recycles 3,800 pounds of material daily, according to the “Guide to 322 Green Colleges.”
Western junior J.J. Campbell has noticed Western’s efforts to stay green.
“There’s lots of recycling and being environmentally conscious as far as not wasting paper and using our resources as best as we can,” Campbell said.
Eleven other Washington universities made the guide, including Central, Washington State and the University of Washington, according to the guide.
The news of Western’s inclusion on the guide did not surprise Students for Renewable Energy Club President Jenny Godwin.
“In terms of the new majors and minors that are being added like energy policy, I’m not surprised,” Godwin said. “We have a huge environmental presence on campus.”
The Students for Renewable Energy Club began in 2003 as an Associated Students club.
Eight years later, the club has 15 members attending weekly meeting panels, Godwin said.
The club has completed multiple projects around campus to help make Western green, including paper towel composting in the library and an LED retrofit in the parking lot lights, Godwin said.
“This year our biggest [project] has been divestment,” she said. “It’s the opposite of investment, divesting from fossil fuel companies and reinvesting in things like renewable energy or community projects that are sustainable.”
While pleased with the school’s placement, Campbell believes Western could do better.
“It’s impressive, but there’s always room for improvement,” Campbell said. “There’s a lot of people that want to take care of the environment because we’re so blessed with all these trees and great [hiking trails] around here.”