AUGUST 13, 2015 • CRAFTSBURY COMMON, VT • Sterling College has been recognized by two national media outlets for its sustainability efforts. Sierra magazine has awarded a Special Achievement Award in Food, and the College has also been named one of BestColleges.com’s “Greenest Colleges and Universities.”
Sierra magazine conferred the Special Achievement Award in Food to Sterling College as part of its annual “Cool Schools” for 2015. This list, released by the Sierra Club’s official publication, ranks universities that lead sustainability initiatives.
Sterling was ranked #2 of 153 institutions for sustainable food. The College grows 20% of its own food on campus and has one of the country’s first collegiate sustainable agriculture programs. Earlier in 2015, the Real Food Challenge declared Sterling College to have the nation’s top local, sustainable, humane, and fair-trade collegiate food system, with 76% of its food declared healthy, fair, and green. The full Sierra list can be found at http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2015-5-september-october/cool-schools-2015/full-ranking.
“Our entire community is invested in making sure our food system is a model for what we want to see in the world, a beta test,” said Executive Chef Simeon Bittman. “We use our campus as a living laboratory to grow our own food, to demonstrate how to radically reduce food waste, and to create a food system that doesn’t exacerbate climate change.”
Sterling College has also been named one of BestColleges.com’s top 39 “Greenest Colleges and Universities.” This listing ranks schools that show dedication to reducing on-campus waste and energy consumption, provide funding to student and faculty-led green proposals, and take other measures to benefit the environment.
The site, an online college planning resource for current and prospective students, spotlighted the College’s curriculum that is “rich in sustainability offerings,” with courses in outdoor skills training and examining issues and defending perspectives. It also noted Sterling College’s plan to install an additional ten solar panel tracker systems on campus in late 2015, and said, “Even the barns at Sterling are powered by solar energy.” The full listing can be found at http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/greenest-universities/.
“We’re honored to have our leadership in environmental stewardship education recognized,” said Sterling College President Matthew Derr. “Our students, alumni, and faculty live by the values we espouse. However, we’re not resting on our laurels, no matter how green they might be.”
Derr continued, “We plan on building upon our legacy of divesting from fossil fuels by installing ten new solar trackers on campus, making us one of the few colleges in the nation that produce as much electricity on campus as we consume. We’re also moving away from the use of fuel oil to heat our buildings, and the goal is to have new renewable systems on campus by 2020.”
Both rankings are based on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). School administrators participate by completing a comprehensive, extensive questionnaire about their campus sustainability practices