UC Berkeley News


A cool, green place to be
The UC system is the top public university in a Sierra Club survey of the greenest U.S. campuses

| 08 November 2007

Sierra, the 1.2-million circulation national magazine of the Sierra Club, has named the University of California system one of America's Top 10 "coolest" schools for its efforts to stop global warming. UC ranked No. 4 on the magazine's inaugural listing of the nation's greenest campuses, appearing in its November/December issue.


UC was the highest-ranked public university - and the only California institution - on the list, which was led by Oberlin College. Harvard University was second and Warren Wilson Col­lege, an 850-student campus in Swannanoa, N.C., was third.

"The University of California system is honored that Sierra has recognized the significant impact that our sustainability policy is making," says Matthew St.Clair, UC's systemwide sustainability manager. "Our sustainability policy has been a model for other universities, and each of our 10 campuses shares its strengths with all the others to improve the university's environmental practices across the board."

A growing green menu

UC's sustainability policy officially began covering green-building design and clean-energy standards in 2004. It expanded in 2006 to include sustainable transportation practices and reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. This year, climate-protection practices, green-building renovations, sustainable operations and maintenance, waste reduction, and environmentally preferable purchasing were added to UC's menu of green-business strategies.

"When such a large and important educational institution takes such significant, systemic steps toward addressing global warming, it can't help but influence the thinking of many tens of thousands of students," says Bob Sipchen, editor-in-chief of Sierra. "If students carry these strong environmental values back to their communities and into their careers, UC's initiative will reverberate globally."

Bhavik Joshi, a graduate student at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, chairs the organizing committee for the upcoming Berkeley-Stanford Clean Tech Conference; he also helps run a student-led research group that focuses on renewable energy. "What makes the UC system so special," he says, "is that the drive to be green comes not just from the top down but also from the bottom up ... from the student body. This recognition will accelerate innovation and adoption of clean technology as it will attract more talent - faculty and students alike - from around the world."

A fact sheet on UC's sustainability efforts is online at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/greeninguc0907.pdf.