Letter to the Editor: Princeton Review ranks Bucknell in the Top 50 Green Colleges

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Maddie Hamilton, Photography Editor / The Bucknellian

Molly Garrahy, Contributing Writer

Congratulations Bucknell University for being ranked 40 out of 455 schools in the Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2023 edition.

For 13 years, The Princeton Review has ranked colleges’ and universities’ performances as environmentally aware and prepared institutions. The main critiques include a healthy and sustainable campus quality of life for students, the preparedness of students to go into environmentally focused careers and opportunities and overall how environmentally responsible the school’s policies are.

While being ranked 40 is an amazing feat, and shows the great effort of our community, looking at what is examined to make the list and seeing what our fellow institutions are doing will show where Bucknell is lacking, and potentially give us ideas to push ourselves to do better. 

First, it is important to acknowledge what Bucknell is doing well, and dissect what criteria we have met so far to make the top 50 Green Colleges.  A few questions that Bucknell was asked to collect data for included our transit programs and walkable campus, the environmental studies program and environmental connections requirements and LEED-certified buildings.

We also have numerous student lead groups, including the newly founded environmental honors society Epsilon Eta, and faculty members that are dedicated to creating a sustainable campus. 

While we have this infrastructure and studies programs in place to reduce pollution and encourage sustainable career paths, and a dedicated student and faculty body, there are some questions on the list that Bucknell most likely didn’t score so greatly on.

The first is Bucknell’s overall waste diversion rate. For an institution to be considered zero waste, 90 percent of waste generated on campus must be diverted from the landfill. Currently, Bucknell is at about 49 percent waste diversion with most of the waste being leaf litter and landscaping mulch.

There must be action taken to encourage the reduction of food waste and improve recycling infrastructure and practices from the university and student body. The other question on the list asks what a university’s plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bucknell needs to adopt a formal plan that outlines a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste diversion by a certain year. Having this type of pressure from a goal will hopefully push forward more green initiatives on campus and create accountability. 

Bucknell University should not settle for fortieth place on the Green College list. As a student body, remember that the little steps, such as recycling correctly, are important. We should also be pushing and holding Bucknell accountable to do more.

The colleges ranked higher on the list should be looked at to see how we can implement something similar on our campus. Hopefully, The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges is not just a pat on the back for our sustainability efforts, but a push for Bucknell University to do more. 

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