Sweltering heat doesn’t deter Arizona School from being Cool.

As a former Wildcat, it is with great dismay and humility that I must pay homage to the Sun Devils.  The Sierra Club unveiled their Third Annual Cool Schools list this month.  Dubbed “A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Eco-Enlightened U.S. Universities”, the list is meant to draw attention to universities across the country who have scored well in the environmental categories.

GIOS Building

Sitting within Metrosprawlitan Phoenix, and with an enrollment list of 67,000+ students, it’s hard to imagine that the largest university in the country can really be green.  However, the shear density of the campus, the organic waste composting practice , the recycled content supply purchasing practice, the relatively new School of Sustainability, and the School’s dedication to building LEED accredited buildings have helped ASU make Sierra Club’s Cool Schools list for all three years of its existence.   Landing an Honorable Mention in 2007, ASU skyrocketed to 6th place in 2008, and 13th place this year.  Naturally, I was excited to see where UofA fell.  Tucson is generally seen as being a much greener city than Phoenix, so something must have rubbed off on the University – right?  Unfortunately, no.  While I view UofA as a “cool” school, the Sierra Club does not.  My disappointment pressed me to investigate Northern Arizona University’s place in all of this.  We all know the Lumberjacks should have really been called the Treehuggers, so surely they reside somewhere near the top of the Cool Schools list.  Nope.  NAU did manage an Honorable Mention in 2007, but has had a dramatic fall over the last couple years – not making the list of 135 schools named this year.

Wow! I really do have to bow to ASU’s achievement.  We should all take a minute to take a look at some of their practices (http://sustainability.asu.edu/campus/).  While you’re at it, let’s do everything we can to encourage our other State schools to step it up a notch or five.  If the Sun Devils can do it, surely the Wildcats and Treehuggers can practice what they preach and give ASU a run for it’s money.  My wife, a Sun Devil alum herself, has already been talking Green trash….  With Lute Olson out of the picture now, I’m not sure I have much of a leg to stand on in this in-state rivalry.  So, with very little spirit, I must close with an obligatory “Go Cats!”.

~ by Nathan Morey on August 25, 2009.

One Response to “Sweltering heat doesn’t deter Arizona School from being Cool.”

  1. Nathan – Have no fear. Just read the latest issue of the UA Alumni Magazine and it has an impressive list of actions and articles about what the facilities department, students and faculty have done and are working on. I tend to remember that UA was never really as good at packaging and marketing its message as ASU. Also, lest we forget that NAU undertook the LEED-Platinum Applied Research and Development building at a time when LEED was relatively unknown and they pushed the envelope in many regards farther than it had been pushed in the U.S. at the time.


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