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OSU jumps to 15th spot in Sierra Club ‘Cool Schools’ list


Oregon State University has been ranked 15 th in the nation and is the top Oregon school in the Sierra Club’s annual “Cool Schools” rankings, which are based on the “greenness” of participating North American universities.

Oregon State moved up five spots from 2017. Two other Oregon schools made the top 20, with the University of Oregon at 16 and Lewis & Clark College in Portland at 17.

The Cool Schools rankings, now in their 12 th year, were released Monday by the Sierra Club’s “Sierra” magazine. The rankings are open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the nation; a record-breaking 269 schools in 36 states, Washington D.C., and Canada submitted entries this year.

“I’m thrilled OSU has moved to number 15 in the nation, particularly given the amazing things happening at hundreds of schools across the nation,” said Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State’s sustainability officer. “The bar gets set higher each year, and even in that context, OSU has continued to demonstrate excellence in many programs.”

Using a customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked the universities based on their commitment to upholding high sustainability standards. Schools were ranked based on academic criteria like curriculum that discusses sustainability, engagement such as campus activism, operations like on-campus recycling and waste management, and on planning and administrative standards.

As with previous years, OSU scored well in sections measuring student engagement; sustainability related research, particularly climate change research; and land stewardship. This year, the university’s scores improved slightly in investment, innovation and waste reduction programming.

“I think much of OSU’s recent success is due to our increased focus on sustainability assessment and systemic change,” Trelstad said. “We have solid top down support and ever-increasing interest from students and the community. OSU is a great place to do this work, but we recognize how far we have to go. My hope is that our added emphasis on equity, diversity and social justice in our work creates a more sustainable community for everyone.”

To view the full rankings and see the scoring for each university, visit: .

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