GW not ranked in Princeton Review's green guide

by Michelle Brown
Hatchet Staff Writer

Despite an increased emphasis on sustainability and the creation of an Office of Sustainability last fall, GW was not listed in the Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges released April 20.

The guide acknowledges colleges that boast green features, such as buildings certified as environmentally friendly, carbon emission reducing plans and green parks - features which GW has implemented or plans to implement.

GW was not listed in the guide because the University did not complete part of a survey that was sent to the admissions office from the Princeton Review in October 2009, Kristin Simmons, spokeswoman for the United States Green Building Council, said. The USGBC helped produce the guide along with the Princeton Review.

Simmons said the questions for the guide were asked in a survey for the Princeton Review's annual Best Colleges list, in which GW is included. Simmons said for two areas, sustainability and financial aid, GW received an incomplete rating.

"If you look in the Princeton Review's Best Colleges for 2010, GW's in there," Simmons said, showing that GW filled out part of the survey.

But GW received an incomplete rating of 60* in the green or sustainability guide. The guide states that a 60* rating is given to "colleges that do not supply answers to a sufficient number of questions for us to fairly tally a rating for them in any category."

Sophie Waskow, stakeholder engagement coordinator for GW's Office of Sustainability, said her office has no record of receiving a green survey from the Princeton Review.

"Since GW's Office of Sustainability did not exist for much of that time, we have no record (and have been unable to find any elsewhere in GW) of being asked to provide data to Princeton Review for the 08-09 academic year," Waskow said in an e-mail.

The guide is based on data from the 2008-2009 academic year, the same year the Office of Sustainability was launched.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the guide was based on data from the 2008-2009 school year, adding the Office of Sustainability "did not exist for much of that time."

She declined to comment, however, on whether or not the Office of Undergraduate Admissions received Princeton Review's survey about sustainable practices and why the survey was not filled out.

The Office of Sustainability said it submitted data in February for the 2011 edition of the guide.

"Given our continued improvement as seen by Sierra Club and Sustainable Endowments Institute surveys, we look forward to taking part in next year's Princeton Review," Waskow said in an e-mail.

Simmons said she believes GW will "absolutely" be included in the 2011 version of the guide.

"In the last couple of years, [GW] has really taken strides to improve the work being done on campus around sustainability," Simmons said. "I've been able to see firsthand that GW is doing a lot to be greener."

Matt Rist contributed to this report

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