UCCS third-most sustainable university in Colorado

For the fourth consecutive year, UCCS is one of Colorado’s most sustainable higher education institutions, according to the Sierra Club’s national magazine.

The 2021 list of Sierra’s “Cool Schools,” which spotlights strong environmental practices of colleges and universities, ranked UCCS as the third-most sustainable university in Colorado.

“The Sierra Club’s ‘Cool School’ rankings are a reflection of our entire UCCS community,” said Kimberly Reeves, interim director of sustainability. “The program uses a robust methodology. Our ranking shows that campus partners are working hard to improve their processes and programs, and commit to a more sustainable UCCS.”

“We still have a long way to go,” Reeves continued. “We’re excited to complete the university’s third Sustainability Strategic Plan and identify opportunities to continue reducing our carbon footprint.” For more information on how to engage, Reeves noted, visit the Office of Sustainability Strategic Plan website.

The Sierra Club tallied Cool School rankings for a record 328 institutions this year, using data from recent submissions to the STARS program — the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The organization awarded UCCS a Gold ranking in 2021.

Among the program’s criteria for universities are their efforts to improve sustainable energy sources, address clean air and climate and offer sustainable transportation. The ranking also focuses on student engagement in sustainability across campus, including in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.

“In the past 15 years, Cool Schools has evolved dramatically — we used to hear about light-green initiatives like double-sided printing and Earth Day parties,” said Katie O’Reilly, Sierra’s lifestyle and adventure editor. “Today, schools have dedicated sustainability professionals who innovate pathways toward audacious zero-carbon and zero-waste and circular goals.”

“Not only is the climate crisis far more emergent today, but also school administrators have become more fully aware that prospective students are seeking out those institutions that can optimally prepare them to thrive in — and improve upon — a rapidly warming and transitioning world.”

The Sierra Club’s full ranking of 328 colleges and universities is online here.

Want to get involved in sustainability at UCCS? Provide feedback to the UCCS Sustainability Strategic Plan 2030. For more information on how to engage and to submit feedback, visit the Office of Sustainability Strategic Plan website.

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