Top 20 “Coolest” Colleges In America


While politicians and industry lobbyists block legislation that would jump start the clean energy economy, some of America’s most progressive colleges and universities have taken matters into their own hands.

Sierra magazine recently announced its fifth annual ranking of the nation’s “Coolest Schools,” a salute to the efforts of U.S. colleges that help solve climate issues and operate sustainably.

Students care deeply about green issues and are attracted to institutions that are working hard to solve environmental problems. According to a 2010 Princeton Review report, 64 percent of prospective college students take a university’s commitment to environmental issues into consideration when deciding where to apply and enroll.

“When students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and proceed to get their hands dirty in the real world, they realize the potential they have to make a difference,” said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine’s editor-in-chief. “We’re thrilled to highlight these forward-thinking schools for emphasizing environmental responsibility, and for teaching, inspiring, and empowering students to affect real change.”

Can you spot your alma mater among this list of schools making a difference for the planet?

1. University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
2. Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT)
3. University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)
4. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC)
5. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
6. University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
7. University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
8. University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
9. Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)
10. Middlebury  College (Middlebury, VT)
11. University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
12. Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)
13. Colby College (Waterville, ME)
14. Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)
15. University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
16. University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
17. Clark University (Worcester, MA)
18. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
19. Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)
20. University of Maryland (College Park, MD)

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Image Credit: Green Mountain College


Ingo S.
Ingo Schreiner5 years ago

didn´t know that

Mark Marino
Mark Marino5 years ago

9 of the 20 in Washington and California. No east coast bias here. Weird.

Persephone K.
Meredith C6 years ago

I'm also wondering where Berkeley is...I'm surprised it's not topping off the list!

Aleksandra Lipka-kadaj

dang where's Berkeley

Diana P.
Diana P6 years ago

I had radiation and radiation implant done at UC Irvine 23 years after radical hysterectomy for cancer. I am still here. They must be doing something right. :-)

Valentina G.
Valentina G6 years ago


Natalie K.
Natalie K6 years ago

The Richard Stockton College of NJ of marketed as New Jersey's Green College. Don't see it on the list though :/

Carol P.
Carol P6 years ago

Yeah, universities are full of smart people who realize that doing what is good for the planet, is good for us, and our pocket books as well.

You have to be pretty gullible to believe the propaganda being put out there by the corporations that want to keep us addicted to fossil fuels so that they can get richer.

Laurina Bergqvist

Arizona Western College is in the process of installing solar to be 100% self-sufficient for solar energy. That's pretty green!

Tunde W.
Tunde W6 years ago

Go Cornell! :)