While 11 California schools ranked in the top 50 greenest colleges in the nation in a recent Sierra Club survey, Irvine bested all of them and came in as the greenest school in California, and the third greenest in the entire nation.
University of Connecticut and Dickinson College in Pennsylvania ranked one and two nationally, with Irvine coming in third above last year’s No. 1 ranked UC Davis, which dropped to No. 4 this year.
And Irvine home owners as well as university faculty and students were thrilled with the news.
“This is great news for UCI,” said UC Irvine’s director of environmental planning and sustainability Richard Demerjian. “It takes the entire campus community working together – our faculty, our students who work on co-curricular and peer-to-peer programs, and staff who work on campus operations.”
Factors that played into the Sierra Club’s decision to award UC Irvine with such a high honor include the 4,800 solar panels that bedeck the college’s large campus, as well as the 12 student clubs that work on promoting sustainability and an understanding of eco-friendly energy use. This was the highest the college had ever ranked in the Sierra Club’s poll, after coming in at ninth in the nation last year.
Irvine community embracing green living
“Sustainability at UCI is a small community, but we’re making a big impact,” said student Nicole Larson who works in the The Green Initiative Fund commission at UC Irvine.
Larson’s commission has $150,000 in its annual budget to use on eco-friendly projects at the school. This year they put eco-friendly sprinkler heads on a water irrigation system in the student housing sector of UC Irvine. They also rented a campus stage that was powered by solar panels and additionally worked to give out reusable water bottles at a charity race.
The Sierra Club considers these measures that students go to in college to help preserve their local environment as tools that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives, whether they decide to become Irving homeowners or move elsewhere.
“Story after story confirms that the environmentalism surrounding students during college sticks with them,” the Sierra Club said of these eco-friendly initiatives.