'Sierra' magazine names UC Santa Cruz a ‘Cool School’

Shovel in the dirt

UC Santa Cruz is one of the 25 greenest colleges in the country, according to Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” ranking.

Sierra magazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, today released its 11th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities.

Coming in at No.23, the ranking underscored UC Santa Cruz’s strong commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and encouraging sustainability. UCSC was the second highest-ranking UC campus, after UC Irvine (No. 8).

“The field is increasingly competitive with more universities participating in the ranking every year,” Director of Sustainability Elida Erickson said. “We continue to perform well, which strongly speaks to the innovative sustainability work happening across campus in academic innovation, social justice, greening science laboratories, and creating hands-on living laboratories.”

More than 200 schools submitted information on their environmental practices in food and transportation systems, water and waste management, purchasing procedures, academics, investments, and more. UC Santa Cruz earned 662 points, with a perfect score in “Innovation.” In its report, the campus touted its Climate & Energy Scenario Analysis Tool, and participation in the UC Office of the President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, which supports the university’s goal of reaching Carbon Neutrality by 2025.

The campus is in the midst of updating its five-year sustainability plan. The final plan is scheduled to be released this fall.

“We have a strong foundation to forge ahead with new sustainability challenges in the years ahead, like utilizing non-potable water sources and building housing on campus,” Erickson said.

Participation in the Cool Schools ranking is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

“Our ranking of green higher-ed leaders has helped schools justify sustainability departments and secure funding for power purchase agreements for renewable energy,” Sierra writes. “Above all, it has encouraged a culture of transparency around sustainability initiatives.”