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Appalachian included in Sierra magazine’s 2016 list of greenest colleges and universities

By University Communications

BOONE—Sierra magazine has released its 2016 list of “Cool Schools” and once again Appalachian State University is included among the nation’s 201 “greenest” colleges and universities.

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Sierra magazine is the official publication of the Sierra Club.

Using a customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked the universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards. Appalachian came in at No. 25 on the list. This year, Appalachian received a score of 657.98 of a possible 1,000 points.

The annual publication measures the “greenness” of schools based on engagement in categories including: co-curricular activities, energy investments, food, innovation, academics and research, planning, purchasing, transit, waste and water.

Green features at Appalachian include:

  • Photovoltaic panels installed on Plemmons Student Union, Frank Residence Hall, in front of Peacock Hall and at bus stops on campus
  • Solar trash compactors on campus
  • Centralized water bottle refill stations in every residence hall, the student union, dining halls and some academic buildings
  • Free bus transportation for employees and students on the AppalCart transportation system
  • The oldest sustainable development programs in the country, offering Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees since 1991

Moreover, in 2015-16, a total of 1,044.61 tons of recyclable, compostable material and reusable material was diverted from the landfill. Thanks to the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI) led and funded by students, many renewable energy projects have been installed on campus.

The magazine ranks schools based on sustainability data reported to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The magazine’s researchers then scored each response and ranked each of the participating institutions. There was no cost for participation, and no affiliation or relationship between a school and the Sierra Club or its employees, past or present, influenced the ranking.

Other North Carolina schools on the list are UNC Chapel Hill (39), Duke University (66), Warren Wilson College (42), UNC Greensboro (71) and Elon University (146).

The full ranking of 201 colleges is online at

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.