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University of Minnesota, Morris Ranks in Sierra Magazine's Top 40 "Cool Schools"

Posted by Melissa Weber on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013

The University of Minnesota, Morris is one of Sierra magazine's top 40 “Cool Schools” for 2013. The Sierra Club's official magazine ranks universities that lead sustainability initiatives and make an effort to protect and preserve the environment. Morris was ranked 38th in the nation, the highest ranking for Morris to date and the highest ranking in the state.

Morris has been rising steadily in the rankings over the past three years. The institution rose from #69 in 2011 to #47 in 2012, and now to #38 in 2013. Other Minnesota colleges listed include Macalester College at #57 and Carleton College at #60.

The index—based on a comprehensive questionnaire submitted by participating colleges—rated schools on their achievements and strategic approaches to sustainability. An independent researcher scored the survey data and awarded points to each school across a range of categories including energy, transport, waste, purchasing, and food. In total, 162 qualified colleges participated in the survey.

“It’s no surprise that Morris has been consistently included in rankings like Sierra Club,” says Chancellor Jacqueline R. Johnson. “Our commitment to sustainability is embedded into the philosophies and the practice of what we do: our academics, our research, and the way we manage our initiatives on campus. Sustainability is woven into the fabric of our work at Morris.”

The most apparent of Morris’ initiatives is renewable energy. Towering 230 feet above the Pomme de Terre Ridge, the school’s two onsite wind turbines are the first thing many see when they arrive on campus. Within a mile, however, are also facilities dedicated to biomass, solar, and conservation efforts—all part of Morris’s overall strategy to reduce its carbon footprint.

The “Cool Schools” rankings were compiled by the Sierra Club in collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and the Princeton Review. Full information on the survey is available at the magazine’s website.