GVSU recognized as environmentally-friendly university

For the first time in its history, Grand Valley State University has been recognized by the Sierra Club as one of the most sustainable institutions in the country.

Ranked no. 16 out of 96 schools on the club’s list of “Coolest Schools,” GVSU stands higher on the green scale than any other Michigan college, as well as many well-known institutions across the nation like University of California-Berkeley and Harvard University.

Campus Sustainability Manager Bart Bartels said he was surprised that GVSU ranked as high as it did considering its competition. Bartels said the Allendale-based university has never submitted its sustainable records to the Sierra Club before and that the sudden recognition of GVSU is not due to any change made by the school, but a change within the company that assesses sustainability.

Nevertheless, GVSU has strengthened its sustainability efforts over the years.
“In the areas of water usage, waste minimization, diversity, and affordability, Grand Valley compares quite favorably [to the other institutions],” Bartels said. “Renewable energy and bike access are areas that we can improve.”

The manager said GVSU will take new measures to increase sustainability this year.
“I think its important not to place too much emphasis on the ranking,” Bartels said.
“We scored very well on some of the criteria, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. We’re pleased with the recognition, but it’s not time to pat ourselves on the back… We can’t become complacent, we need to think about new ways to reduce our environmental impact and cut cost.”

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