University recognized for green initiatives
The University’s recycling and green initiatives are starting to gain national attention.
The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council released the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” and named UH one of three most environmentally conscious institutions in Texas institutions.
Texas Christian University and Texas A&M were the other two Texas institutions named in the survey of 697 universities.
According to the guide, UH ranks among the most environmentally sound universities in the country because of its commitments to recycling, sustainability, conservation and environmental education.
“We are excited for the University of Houston to receive recognition for being a living-learning laboratory for sustainability,” Assistant Vice President of University Services Emily Messa said.
Messa attributes the University’s success on “going green” to an array of accomplishments over recent years, beginning with the establishment of the Sustainability Task Force, which meets on a monthly basis to discuss GreenUH initiatives.
“We started with small steps, like recycling, reducing on-campus waste and learning how to be green commuters,” Messa said in a press release. “We then tackled a carbon footprint for the entire UH campus and are working toward a greenhouse gas reduction plan for the University.”
Evidence of the University’s many green accomplishments, big and small, can be found all over.
It can seen from the implementation of more than 300 recycling bins across campus and reusable to-go containers in the dining halls to a partnership with METRO for student discounts and green commuting, as well as UH’s participation in this annual RecycleMania competition.
Messa said that the University has more plans in the works, including “greenhouse gas reduction, continuing to educate the community about waste minimization and conservation, and campus engagement working specifically with the residence hall students to incorporate sustainability and residential hall living.”
President and CEO of USGBC Rick Fedrizzi said he believes wholeheartedly that a green university will attract more prospective students as well as benefit the university by saving on energy bills.
“Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life,” Fedrizzi said in a press release. “Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities.”
Messa said going green is the responsible thing to do.
“It creates opportunity for the University to reduce carbon emissions, become more efficient and reduce costs and, most importantly, build community,” she said. “We see sustainability as a tradition at the University of Houston. Because the University is home to so many cultures, being green is something that everyone can embrace, no matter their home country. In fact, when we are out at events, students from all cultures and nations stop and say, ‘Wow, we do this at home.”
The colleges were chosen based on the “green rating” scores the schools received last summer from The Princeton Review. Only those universities with a score in the 80th or higher percentile were included in the guide.