Rollins recognized among the greenest colleges in the nation

December 02, 2021

By Elsa Wenzel

As the urban farm expands and the College slashes more waste, The Princeton Review recognizes Rollins for its commitment to sustainability.

Rollins is one of the nation’s 420 most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The publication’s 2022 Green Ratings recognize a sustainable and healthy quality of life on campus, environmentally sound policies, and students’ preparation for the 21st-century clean-energy economy and for citizenship “in a world now defined by environmental concerns and opportunities.”

The Princeton Review considered student inclusion in green programs, environmentally preferable food, bike sharing, waste diversion rates, environmental studies options, and LEED-certified buildings, among other sustainability attributes that are strong at Rollins. The College scored 82 on a scale of 60 to 99.

“Our online Green Guide offers really helpful information for students about green majors and careers and the benefits of choosing a green college,” says Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. “We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges.”

Written by experts in higher education sustainability, The Princeton Review survey invited administrators at most four-year U.S. colleges to participate early in the academic year. The publication selected sustainability standouts according to a review of their academics, policies, activities, and career-preparation offerings.

Rollins has a rich sustainability heritage that includes launching one of the nation’s first environmental studies departments in 1982. From there, campus-wide efforts through initiatives like the Sustainability Program—which works to improve the infrastructure of support for environmentally friendly causes—have driven everything from a bike-share program and e-waste drives to the on-campus farm and hydration stations.

“Rollins just has this wonderful way of weaving the theme of sustainability and creating a better future not only for yourself but those around you into everything they teach and do,” says Katie Pharo ’22, an environmental studies major who is active in sustainability on campus. “That infuses every single class and major and minor and every department. This understood value creates an environment where people take initiative and want to spark change. The Sustainability Program is the epitome of that because it’s led by students.”

A Rollins student participating in the bike-share program on campus.A Rollins student participating in the bike-share program on campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

In recent years, students led the efforts to eliminate plastic bags, Styrofoam, and plastic straws from campus. And as Rollins designs a new plan to become a zero-waste campus, it is exploring ways to slash solid waste at unprecedented levels. After a recent waste audit found that 54 percent of Campus Center waste could have been composted, new strategies include expanding the composting program from behind the scenes of the dining hall to the front of the house.

Other signature green efforts at Rollins include the urban farm, which provides fresh organic tomatoes, kale, and cucumbers to the award-winning meals of the Marketplace at the Campus Center. The farm is about to undergo an ambitious expansion to include a native garden and pollinator garden, in-ground farming, and hydroponic towers. In a new partnership with the Student Support Foundation, campus-grown produce will be available alongside canned and boxed foods for free to students.

State-of-the-art facilities include the Bush Science Center and Strong Hall, both of which are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.

America’s most beautiful campus is also officially Fair Trade certified, with items in every campus store that meet the standard’s specifications for ensuring environmental and human well-being.

The Green Ratings appear in The Princeton Review’s online college profiles and in its book, The Best 387 Colleges: 2022 Edition, published in August. Rollins also appears on The Princeton Review’s lists of the Best Southeastern Colleges, the Most Beautiful Campus, and the Best 387 Colleges.

A picture of the Rollins campus.

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