The University of San Diego's Church of the Immaculata Chapel. Photo credit:
The University of San Diego’s Church of the Immaculata Chapel. Photo credit:

The University of San Diego and UC San Diego were the nation’s 14th and 17th “greenest” colleges, respectively, in the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” rankings.

USD President Mary Lyons said she was proud the school was recognized in the new list.

“Toreros everywhere can take pride in our efforts to cut water use, reduce energy costs, recycle electronic waste and plan wisely to conserve resources for generations to come,” Lyons said. “Our commitment to sustainability is also a manifestation of our Catholic values to protect God’s creation and I am very pleased at how it has become embedded into the fabric of our campus in just a few short years.”

A nearby college took the top spot – UC Irvine was ranked first.

American University of Washington, D.C. followed, along with Dickinson College of Carlisle, Pa. Stanford University also made the top 20. Several other UC campuses joined UCSD on the list.

More than 150 universities and colleges were evaluated by the Sierra Club.

USD’s Electronics Recycling Center diverted more than 515,000 pounds of e-waste from landfills over the past year, nearly double the total from the prior year. USD also installed 28 electrical vehicle charging stations and equipped the campus with 222 upgraded bike racks.

The school reported that it was using 30 percent less water than in 2006.

The Sierra Club produced the rankings based on survey responses provided by 173 four-year colleges and universities. The schools were evaluated not just on how the campus operates, but also on how involved students were in environmental issues.

Criteria included how engaged students are on sustainability issues outside the classroom, campus energy and water use and diversion of waste.

– City News Service