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Eastern featured in Princeton Review’s 2021 Guide to Green Colleges

Published on November 04, 2020

Eastern featured in Princeton Review’s 2021 Guide to Green Colleges

Fine Arts Instructional Center
The Fine Arts Instructional Center is one of five Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings on campus.

Eastern Connecticut State University is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review in its “Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition.” Released in October, the guide profiles 416 colleges that are committed to environmental sustainability.  This is the 11th year in a row that Eastern has made The Princeton Review’s Green Colleges rankings.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a 2019–20 survey of administrators at 695 colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The company’s editors analyzed more than 25 survey data points in the process of choosing schools for the guide.

"I am pleased to see that Eastern’s commitment to a sustainable future for our fragile planet has again been recognized by The Princeton Review,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “The University has been actively involved in sustainability efforts in Connecticut for the past two decades and continues to make the environment an institutional priority.”

In 2007, Núñez became one of the first university presidents to sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment on behalf of Eastern, pledging to become carbon neutral by 2050. In 2015, Núñez renewed Eastern’s resolve by signing Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Commitment, which includes a pledge to address climate resilience in addition to achieving climate neutrality. This fall, Eastern’s Green Campus Committee revised the University’s Climate Action Plan, which serves as a guide to the campus’s carbon neutrality goals via myriad short- and long-term sustainability actions. 

Eastern’s Center for Sustainable Energy Studies is the academic arm of the University’s sustainability initiatives, supporting a Sustainable Energy Science concentration in the Environmental Earth Science major and a Sustainable Energy Studies minor.

Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) is another important element of the campus’s sustainability efforts, working closely with Eastern's Center for Sustainable Energy Studies and the Facilities Management and Planning Department to promote sustainability throughout the Eastern campus community. The institute also provides on-campus internships for students in Sustainable Energy Studies academic programs. In addition, the ISE also spearheads the statewide Sustainable CT program, which provides a roadmap to sustainable practices to make towns more eco-friendly and is endorsed by more than 50 percent of Connecticut municipalities.

On campus, Chartwells Dining Services provides reusable to-go containers, which has removed approximately 66,000 paper take-out containers a year from the waste stream. Composting and tray-less lunches further cut down on food waste as well as the water and electricity needed for washing dishes. The Student Center has reduced its use of plastic and donates left-over food to the local Covenant Soup Kitchen and on-campus Shawn’s Cupboard food pantry for food-insecure students.

Eastern has a silver rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). There are five Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings, including the Science Building — which utilizes gray-water and daylight-harvesting systems — as well as the new Fine Arts Instructional Center and a trio of residence halls. Other buildings, including the newly renovated Goddard Hall, Shafer Hall and Communication Building, have been remodeled according to sustainability best practices and outfitted with high-efficiency systems.

“We strongly recommend Eastern to students who want to study and live at a green college,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief at The Princeton Review. “Each and every one of the outstanding colleges in this edition of our guide offers both excellent academics and exemplary evidence of environmental commitment.”

Franek noted that The Princeton Review has seen a high level of interest among college applicants and their parents in colleges with green practices, programs and offerings. Sixty-six percent of the 12,845 respondents (college-bound teens and parents) to The Princeton Review's 2020 “College Hopes & Worries Survey” said that having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would affect their (or their child’s) decision to apply to or attend a school.

For more on sustainability at Eastern, visit or view Eastern’s Princeton Review profile at!campuslife.

Written by Michael Rouleau