Wheaton named one of nation’s 286 “green” colleges
Wheaton College is one of 286 U.S. colleges and universities highlighted in the Princeton Review's "Guide to Green Colleges." The guidebook, which was created in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, lists colleges that have "demonstrated an exemplary commitment to sustainability."
Schools are selected for inclusion in the guide based on how well they perform in three major areas, including:
- whether the students have a healthy and sustainable campus life,
- how well a school is preparing its students for green jobs and for citizenship in a world defined by environmental concerns and opportunities, and
- how environmentally responsible a school's policies are.
"Wheaton's successes in promoting sustainability are not only a reflection of the college's community's commitment to this issue, but also the effectiveness of a liberal arts education to develop creative and effective solutions," said President Ronald A. Crutcher. He formalized the college's sustainability efforts in 2008 and formed a Sustainability Steering Committee to coordinate Wheaton's efforts.
The college's most ambitious commitment to sustainability is the new science center project now under construction. The new center will incorporate a host of features that will enable the building to earn LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a nationally recognized benchmark for sustainable buildings established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Wheaton offers a major in environmental science and a minor in environmental studies, along with connected courses in disciplines across the liberal arts. Student interest in sustainability has had a major impact on the college's progress in this area. The most visible reflection of students' advocacy on behalf of environmental stewardship is the Jerry Murphy Memorial Apple Orchard, which was established in 2009 through student leadership.
"The formation of the student-run Green Initaitves Committee and the President's Sustainability Steering Committee was an important step in 'institutionalizing' Wheaton's commitment to sustainability," says Bernice Morrissey, who coordinates the steering committee. "The biggest success will come out of a more focused approach to advancing sustainability across campus. "
The Princeton Review's guide focuses on sustainability efforts in Wheaton's food and dining services. In particular, it cites the fact that dining services buys local whenever possible and serves Fair Trade coffee and tea. It also notes that the campus pub (The Loft) serves locally-made and organic beverages and offers a bar menu that consists of locally-purchased ingredients located within a 150-mile radius of the school.
Many other examples of Wheaton's commitment to sustainability can be found across campus. For example, several academic and administrative buildings were retrofitted to promote energy conservation through a partnership with the Siemens Corp. Other recent steps include the expansion of recycling, the addition of bicycles and a hybrid vehicle to the public safety fleet, and the hosting of a teach-in on global climate change for the past two years.