Sterling College Takes a Top Spot on Sierra’s “Cool Schools” List

Sterling College was awarded a top  spot in Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools,” the recently released ranking of the greenest colleges and universities in the U.S. The Cool Schools ranking is among the most well-known and prestigious sustainability rankings in higher education. The rankings recognize the colleges’ commitment to sustainability, which encompasses academics, research, operations, and engagement.

“We applaud this year’s top three schools — the College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, and Sterling College — for their outstanding and continued commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said Sierra’s Editor in Chief Jason Mark. “Each of the three schools was recognized for both their individual achievements in clean energy, green curriculum, and sustainable food, respectively, as well as for their overall performance. It is their leadership, and the leadership of all schools ranked this year, that is helping to drive a positive change in both the classroom and beyond.”

Sierra, the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its eleventh annual “Cool Schools” ranking on August 22 of America’s most environmentally-minded colleges and universities. Out of a possible 1000 points, Sterling College (#3) finished with a score of 739.98. Over 200 colleges and universities were ranked.

“It’s no coincidence that these three great institutions were among the very first campuses to divest from fossil fuels–that’s a bottom-line requirement for environmental distinction, and a sign as well that they know how to do well by doing good,” said author and environmental activist Bill McKibben. “Such congratulations!”

Place-Based-EcologyHowever, Sterling has more than just fossil fuel divestment going for it:

  1. We remain purposefully small, with undergraduate enrollment of about 145 students.
  2. Our 5 BA programs (Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Food Systems, Outdoor Education and Environmental Humanities) are focused solely on the mission of environmental stewardship.
  3. Sterling was also ranked #1 in the nation for the third consecutive year by the Real Food Challenge for having the most sustainable, fair trade and locally sourced campus kitchen
  4. We are ranked #1 in Vermont by AASHE for most sustainable college campus in the Vermont.

“This is a generation of students that understands the perils facing the planet and our climate, and want an education that prepares them to boldly respond to these challenges,” said Sterling College President Matthew Derr. “We are squarely focused on reshaping the human relationship with the natural world, as it is one of the most critical issues facing humanity today.”

Sierra Cool Schools

The full list of colleges and universities can be found at


Katie Lavin, Sterling College

(802) 586-7711 x111 • [email protected]


Founded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College is the leading voice in higher education for environmental stewardship. The College was among the first colleges in the United States to focus on sustainability through academic majors in Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, and Outdoor Education. Sterling College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is one of only eight federally recognized Work Colleges in the nation.

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