USF One of Nation's Top Green Colleges

By Jacqui Cash


TAMPA, Fla. (May 5, 2010) – At the University of South Florida, green is more than one of the school colors. USF’s efforts to “go green” have been recognized through inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges, the first comprehensive guidebook solely focused on colleges and universities that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.


USF’s inclusion in the list of the nation’s most environmentally responsible college campuses is a reflection of the university’s many sustainable activities, supported by the inclusion of sustainability in USF’s strategic plan. The Office of Sustainability serves as the university’s hub for environmental initiatives by faculty, staff and students. The office sponsors several sustainability programs that support mentors for students, academic fellowships, service learning scholarship and teaching grants.


“It is an honor to be singled out for inclusion in the recent Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, which was prepared in conjunction with the highly respected U.S. Green Building Council. Our inclusion is testament to the hard work and steely dedication of numerous students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni over the past few years to make USF a cleaner, greener place to live and work,” said Christian Wells, director of the USF Office of Sustainability.


From academic courses and green expos to free bus rides and sustainable business competitions, the USF community is embracing sustainability in every corner of campus. The following are just a few of the university’s sustainable activities:


·         USF ranks second in Florida and 25th nationally in the 2010 RecycleMania waste minimization contest based on the amount of municipal solid waste generated per person on campus.


·         USF hosts the annual Campus and Community Sustainability Conference where participants share best practices for Florida’s sustainable future.


·         USF was the host for the Going Green Tampa Bay Expo which showcased sustainable products and services available in the area.


·         USF students are active in the sustainably movement through participation in five environmental student groups, including Emerging Green Builders, Engineers for a Sustainable World, and the Student Sustainability Initiative.


·         Sustainability issues are often included in required general education courses


·         USF hosts a Green Jobs Fair for students seeking employment that supports their environmental goals. Students successfully lobbied for the university to charge a $0.75-per-credit-hour “green fee” to support the purchase of renewable energy.


·         USF Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) were named regional champions for the third time in five years with a project to help two local businesses transition to more sustainable business practices.


·         The School of Architecture + Community Design created award-winning projects for sustainable building practices.


·          A process developed by a team of USF researchers which converts common organic materials such as sawdust, yard clippings and even horse manure into jet fuel is among an elite group of 12 projects named as semi-finalists in the prestigious Global Venture Challenge 2010.


·         A team of USF students and their faculty advisor received a competitive Phase II Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the EPA’s prestigious People, Prosperity, and Planet (P3) Competition. The USF team was one of six selected nationally to receive the annual award.


·         USF’s physical plant lowers campus water usage by reducing watering duration times, installing low-volume units and not watering certain areas of the Tampa campus, which uses about 30 to 40 percent less water than traditional methods.


Sustainability is a university-wide concern and is supported at all levels of the campus. Leading the way is USF President Judy Genshaft as she signed the historic American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a campaign to assemble institutional pledges to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerate higher education’s research and educational efforts to equip society with the information and tools to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.


Earlier this year, USF launched the nation’s first School of Global Sustainability, an innovative effort aimed at preparing students for a new generation of “green collar” careers and finding solutions for a world challenged with the protection of its fragile environment and limited resources. The first degree program to be offered by the school will be a master of arts in global sustainability to prepare students to address complex regional, national, and global challenges related to sustainability and the ability to innovate in diverse cultural, geographic, and emographic contexts. The program will allow for the integration of various disciplines such as basic, natural, and social sciences, engineering, health, economics, governance and policy, and issues of diversity.


"USF is deeply committed to building healthy, sustainable communities," said USF President Judy Genshaft. "That's why we launched our School of Global Sustainability this year. It's why we're committed to meeting the great demand of our students. And it's why we're out in the Gulf of Mexico trying to save the food chain from effects of the recent oil spill. It is fantastic that The Princeton Review's own comprehensive analysis of our educational offerings put USF on this list."


About the Guide

The guide was created in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide and profiles the nation’s most environmentally-responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges looks at an institution’s commitment to building certification using USGBC’s LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs, and much more. The free guide can be downloaded at and 


“Our research has shown that students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending universities and colleges that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher, The Princeton Review. “In fact, 64 percent of the nearly 12,000 college applicants and parents who participated in our recent College Hopes & Worries Survey said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this Guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”


“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,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Green facilities make

colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs. 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.”


How the Schools Were Chosen

The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the guide based on the “Green Rating” scores the schools received in summer 2009 when The Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and/or annual college guidebooks. The Princeton Review’s “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60 – 99 that’s based on several data points. In 2008, The Princeton Review began collaborating with USGBC to help make the Green Rating survey questions as comprehensive and inclusive as possible. Of 697 schools that The Princeton Review gave “Green Ratings” to in 2009, the 286 schools in the Guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile.  The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this book hierarchically (1 to 286) or in any of its books based on their “Green Rating” scores.


About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU) has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for more than 28 years through college and graduate school test preparation and private tutoring. With more than 165 print and digital publications and a free website,, the Company provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for higher education. The Princeton Review partners with schools and guidance counselors throughout the U.S. to assist in college readiness, test preparation and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education. The Company also owns and operates Penn Foster Education Group, a global leader in online education.  Penn Foster provides career-focused degree and vocational programs in the fields of allied health, business, technology, education, and selects trades through the Penn Foster High School and Penn Foster Career School (, which are headquartered in Scranton, PA.


About the U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,500 member companies and organizations, and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion in U.S. gross domestic product from 2009 – 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, teachers and students. Building in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent of water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green buildings has the potential to generate 2.5 million jobs in America.



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.