Groups Commend VCU’s Commitment to Sustainability

Three organizations separately recognized Virginia Commonwealth University this month for the university’s ongoing environmental conservation efforts.

First, VCU was an honorable mention selection for the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards. Then, the Princeton Review included VCU in its annual listing of the country’s greenest colleges. And, finally, the James Green Building Council honored VCU as a leader in the public sector.

"The recent recognition at the local, state and national level of VCU's campus sustainability initiatives reflects the VCU Quest for Distinction and its goal of providing strategic leadership in addressing sustainability challenges through curricular and service innovations and green facilities and operations,” said Jacek Ghosh, VCU’s director of sustainability.

On April 8, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the winners of the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards. VCU was acknowledged with an honorable mention for its comprehensive sustainability program. The wide-ranging program addresses reducing greenhouse gas emissions; following green building standards for all new construction; purchasing energy efficient appliances and products; reducing commuter driving by faculty, staff and students; using renewable energy sources; conserving water; minimizing solid waste generation; and developing a sustainable food service on campus.

The governor’s awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in two categories: sustainability and land conservation. They are given to business and industrial facilities, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

In a 2013 survey of college-bound students, conducted by The Princeton Review, 62 percent of respondents said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend a school.

For the third year in a row, VCU made The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges list.

This year’s edition, released on April 16, gave VCU a high score of 93 out of 99 possible points for its commitment to conservation. Adding sustainability as a sixth guiding principle to the university’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, was among the many achievements recognized by the book. Additionally, the school was lauded for its nine LEED-certified buildings, including the Walter L. Rice Education Building, which is the first building in Virginia to be awarded LEED Platinum certification.

Lastly, the James River Green Building Council recognized VCU as a Public Sector Leader at its 8th Annual Leadership Awards ceremony on April 18. The purpose of the JRGBC Leadership Awards is to honor organizations and their leaders for outstanding contributions to green construction in Virginia.


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