Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State scores ‘Green Colleges’ three-peat

April 22, 2015

For the third year in a row, Indiana State University has been selected as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation, according to The Princeton Review.

"This is a fantastic honor every time we receive it. ISU may have received this designation for three consecutive years, but I think that speaks to the strength of our sustainability offerings more than anything," said Caroline Savage, interim executive director of the university's Institute for Community Sustainability. "This designation is highly competitive and receiving it is by no means a given. ISU continues to do an excellent job of responding to the 21st century problems of energy price volatility, societal inequities and ecosystem destruction with innovative 21st century solutions."

The profiles in "The Princeton Review's Guide to 353 Green Colleges" provide information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid and student body statistics. They also include "Green Facts" about the schools with details on the availability of transportation alternatives at the schools and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local/organic food.

"We strongly recommend Indiana State and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges," said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's senior vice-president and publisher.

News of the award came just days after another successful Earth Day celebration on April 15 at Indiana State, one that drew thousands to the university's grassy quadrangle for the day that included a picnic lunch, information and entertainment.

"Our Earth Day celebration is excellent for raising broad awareness of sustainability on our campus and in the community. Annually, it sees about one-sixth of ISU's student population participating -- about 2,500 students -- and many more community members and ISU employees," Savage said.

"It helps remind us that being a Sycamore means being engaged with our communities thinking about the long-term impacts of our actions and proactively building a better future for all," she added. "It becomes a springboard for the deeper interactions we have with students and others throughout the year -- so many partnerships and projects are formed around Earth Day, and this is how a lot of students experience sustainability on campus for the first time; many of them seek us out after the event, now that they know we exist."

The basic tenets of sustainability emphasize how the core components of economy, society and environment are interconnected. The Institute for Community Sustainability adapts this practice and marks collaboration as one of its greatest qualities, which are especially evident during events such as Earth Day.

"We were so pleased with both campus and community engagement. Earth Day takes many hands working hard throughout the year, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude toward all of the different campus departments and individuals who feel personally responsible for its success," Savage said. "This is probably the best sustainability success story anybody could ask for: A project that goes beyond just the sustainability office to have a life of its own across departments. This is truly the highest echelon of sustainability."

Starting last fall, Indiana State students were able to take advantage of a minor in sustainability, which was previously known as the conservation minor. The change was the result of feedback from a university survey in which most students said they would like more sustainability curriculum offered.

Franek, too, noted the growing interest the company has seen among college-bound students in green colleges.

"Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61 percent told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college, he said.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for this sixth annual edition of its "green guide" based on data from the company's 2014 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools' commitments to the environment and sustainability.

Work to continue and broaden the institute's partnerships, which this year alone have included the university's Division of Student Affairs, Residential Life, Office of Diversity, African-American Cultural Center, Community School for the Arts, Center for Global Engagement, Recycle Center and Facilities Management, is underway.

"I love to see how interconnected we are becoming with these campus partners, as well as community partners, and I think that our future will see us continuing to work on projects like Earth Day that are bigger than the sum of their parts and impact more people more deeply than our one office could alone," Savage said.

"This year, we and the other Unbounded Possibilities offices have been asked to submit three-year work plans and budgets. It is wonderful to know that the university is committed to our long-term success in this way, and we will work hard to live up to the challenge," she added.


Photos: -- A vendor sells environmentally friendly products at Indiana State University's Earth Day celebration on April 15. -- Saplings were given away during Indiana State University's Earth Day celebration on April 15. -- Community members were among the thousands who attended Indiana State University's Earth Day on April 15. -- Students play corn hole during Indiana State University's Earth Day on April 15.

Contact: Caroline Savage, interim executive director of the Institute for Community Sustainability, Indiana State University, 812-232-8502 or

Writer: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or