Good News from My Alma Mater

This is great news from the Tennessean this morning:

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee‘s flagship campus is riding a green wave that is sweeping across campuses nationally.

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UT-Knoxville has ramped up its recycling efforts. It has rolled out an extensive energy savings and carbon reduction program. And it is encouraging staff and students to ride the bus and turn off the lights.

Some university programs are even incorporating environmental awareness into the curriculum — notably, the UT College of Architecture and Design.

“By end of next academic year, every course in their college will have a sustainability component,” UT spokesman Jay Mayfield told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Some peer pressure is involved. Colleges are now being ranked on their eco-enlightenment by the Sierra Club, the College Sustainability Report Card and the survey-based Princeton Review.

“It seems to be the students that are pushing this movement,” said David Soto, the Princeton Review’s director of college ratings.

UT-Knoxville scored 85 out of a possible 100 in the Princeton Review and received a “B” on the College Sustainability report card. It was not one of the 135 institutions included on the Sierra Club list.

The university compares well with other large Southern institutions, Mayfield said.

“We pay attention to the rankings, but I think the concern is much more evaluating against ourselves and trying to improve our operations,” he said.

Last year, UT’s College of Architecture and Design announced the goal of being a carbon-neutral design campus by 2010. The initiative promised to incorporate “the elimination or reduction of the need for fossil fuel as a central tenet in its design education.”

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