The Sierra Club has named Clarkson University one of the Cool Schools for 2018.
Out of more than 250 schools nationwide that reported on sustainability programs, Clarkson ranks 22 for academics, 9 for grounds, 32 for diversity & affordability, and 57 overall. The ranking is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States.
This honor follows earlier recognition for campus sustainability, as Clarkson received a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) program for its socially responsible investment in sustainability education and research. The rating puts Clarkson in the top one-third of campuses across the globe that self-reported on sustainability programs to the organization.
Clarkson has a number of campus and community initiatives that directly connect student education and research with faculty and staff initiatives. Students in classes, design projects and research work to: operate and improve a campus anaerobic digester that converts food waste to energy and fertilizer; support the town and village of Potsdam’s Climate Smart Communities commitments; and, design components of new ducted wind turbine that will be installed on a campus building.
“As part of our climate commitment, we are working toward climate neutrality by 2025,” says Susan Powers, director of Clarkson's Institute for a Sustainable Environment. “This commitment is helping drive our efforts to increase energy efficiency in all renovation projects and consider additional sources of local renewable energy.”
Engagement of the student body has been critically important in the recognition Clarkson as received for its sustainability initiatives. Students learn how to integrate sustainability concepts into their lives and professions through a variety of curricular and extra-curricular programs.
Sustainability concepts are covered in more than 250 courses that are offered by more than 70 percent of Clarkson's academic departments, and all students can direct their course choices to focus on sustainability by participating in the Adirondack Semester or completing a minor in sustainable energy systems engineering or sustainable solutions for the developing world.
Student co-curricular projects funded through the Sustainability Fund projects have included a new student-run campus vegetable garden, new solid waste receptacles and a plan to better manage solid waste on campus, and micro-financed tree nurseries in Uganda for carbon dioxide sequestration.