UMBC is one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The nationally known education services company selected UMBC for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges.” UMBC was also included in the 2010 edition.
Developed by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the “Guide to 311 Green Colleges” is the only free comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. Schools were chosen based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges polled in 2010 about their school’s sustainability initiatives.
“This is wonderful recognition of the strong commitment of so many students, faculty and staff to safeguarding our environment, responding to climate change and engaging as much of our community as possible in these efforts,” said Lynne Schaefer, vice president for administration and finance. “Special thanks goes to our undergraduate and graduate student government leaders, Students for Environmental Awareness, Daejayon, the Climate Change Task Force, our student sustainability interns and the many individuals who have pushed forward an aggressive agenda even in the face of limited resources.”
Since UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007, UMBC has worked toward supporting green efforts in campus in a multitude of ways through the Climate Change Task Force. The group is comprised of students, faculty and staff engaged in encouraging sustainability on campus.
This fall, UMBC broke ground on its first LEED Silver building, an addition to Patapsco residence hall. The addition includes the university’s first green roof, which will also be used for research by faculty and students. UMBC has developed sustainability initiatives across campus through its dining service, Chartwells, and facilities management, among other programs, and regularly participates in green activities including the annual Ecofest, Recyclemania and the 2009 National Teach-in. Last year, students voted to increase their fees to support four sustainability interns each year to push forward environmental initiatives. The University is also finalizing a contract to have two Zipcars on campus this spring.
The Department of Geography and Environmental Systems offers academic programs in environmental studies and environmental science including master’s and Ph.D. programs focusing on environmental systems, human geography and remote sensing technology. The campus is also the field headquarters for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a federally funded urban ecology project, and is home to the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education. Its research and technology park, bwtech@UMBC, includes the U.S. Geological Survey’s regional water science center and other companies focusing on environmental research and technology.
Other departments that have sustainability-related majors and courses include biochemistry and molecular chemistry, biological sciences, biotechnology, civil engineering, economics, geographic information systems, human context of science and technology, interdisciplinary studies, marine biotechnology, marine-estuarine environmental science, philosophy, physics and public policy.
The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. This past fall, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools (www.centerforgreenschools.org) to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.