Top 7 Most Environmentally Friendly Colleges in the U.S. 2021

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10 Most Eco-Friendly Colleges

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There’s no doubt that education is essential. But, selecting a college has never been so easy. There are lots of factors you must consider before making any decision. Is the college environmentally-friendly, for instance?

A good education institution always tries its best to stay connected to nature. They put in place policies that make their colleges more sustainable.

Living in harmony with nature provides a healthy learning environment for students. It also supports mental development.

Protecting the environment has become a significant priority among universities. Climate change drives most of these efforts.

There are lots of environmentally friendly colleges out there. Some have received global recognition for their conservation efforts. Here are some of the best from among those.

7 Environmentally-Friendly Colleges in the U.S. 2021

1. Colorado State University

Colorado State University is one of the greenest colleges in the U.S.

It was the first college campus to attain platinum status under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Its most notable “green” project is a food waste reduction program that seeks to provide access to healthy food.

The project, dubbed Rams Against Hunger, notifies students, faculty, and staff whenever there are leftovers at catered school events. They can then pick up the food, helping cut food wastage.

2. University of California (Davis)

The University of California – Davis aims for complete carbon neutrality by 2025. The campus leads in sustainability and remains among the top environmentally-friendly colleges in the United States.

Among its notable claims to sustainability include energy-efficient buildings, a sustainable student farm, and a Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester. The digester can transform 50 tons of waste into energy daily.

UC Davis also hosts an annual Whole Earth Festival. The event brings together students and the Davis community in promoting sustainability.

3. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is one among nine rarefied higher education institutions to receive the Green Ribbon School recognition by the U.S. Department of Education.

The university engages students and staff to live more sustainably through several programs. They include the Green Labs Program, the Recycling and Waste Diversion Program, and the Green Workplace program.

These programs educate and empower students to reduce wastage in research projects, work, and daily life.

4. University of Massachusetts- Amherst

The Uni of Massachusetts – Amherst is a sustainability leader among college campuses in the United States. For example, it was the first university to divest its endowment from direct fossil fuel holdings.

It’s also one of the country’s largest food-service providers committed to only using local, sustainable food sources.

The University hosts the School of Earth and Sustainability, a premier institution that offers students and faculty a well-organized hub to research and study sustainability and environmental sciences.

UMass Amherst has one of the largest solar panel projects in New England. It also boasts an efficient recycling program.

5. Green Mountain College (Poultney, Vermont)

Green Mountain College was the first campus in the U.S. to receive the prestigious EPA Energy Star campus recognition. It aims to transition to 100% renewable energy and be carbon-neutral by decade’s end.

The college empowers students to lead the charge on sustainability. The college’s biomass facility, one of its most notable green projects, was designed and developed by a group of students and graduates.

6. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill is an environmentally-friendly college with sustainability projects that cut across all departments. The college aims to achieve the “Three Zeros Goals,” namely,

  • Zero waste sent to landfills
  • Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Net-zero water usage.

The university has invested in constructing energy-efficient buildings and increasing green transportation options. It’s retrofitting older buildings with more environmentally-friendly hardware and minimizing water usage.

Working with students, faculty, staff, and the community, the university encourages smaller sustainability efforts. It hosts events that create awareness around preserving and protecting the environment.

7. Arizona State University (Tempe)

Arizona State University (Tempe) is a forerunner among Eco-friendly colleges. Its main claim to the title came in June 2018 when the university launched a “Carbon Project” to mitigate its carbon emissions.

The steps it took included planting more trees on campus, supporting university departments’ transition to electric vehicles, and adopting car-sharing arrangements.

ASU also made a fair trade commitment to sell and use sustainably produced products. It works with companies practicing ethical labor practices.

Similarly, Arizona State encourages its students to pursue research-based projects around environmental and other issues.


Nature and surroundings have a significant impact on your life. A conducive environment on campus, for example, provides a healthy space for students to learn and interact.

The Eco-friendly colleges listed above, and many others not on the list, have demonstrated ongoing sustainability efforts that align with global climate change mitigation efforts. They are also incredible places to learn.

  • Guest Author

    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

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