Pacific Ranked in Top 100 of Sierra Club's "Coolest Schools"
The country's largest and perhaps most influential environmental organization has named University of the Pacific one of the nation's top 100 "Coolest Schools." The Sierra Club ranked Pacific 68th among schools that help address climate change and make efforts to become more sustainable.
The Sierra Club made the announcement on Aug. 17 and released its fifth annual rankings in the September/October issue of its magazine, "Sierra." The organization based its rankings on environmental practices, green initiatives and quality of sustainability-oriented education at colleges and universities.
"We're thrilled to highlight these forward-thinking schools for emphasizing environmental responsibility, and for teaching, inspiring and empowering students to affect real change," said Bob Sipchen, Sierra magazine's editor-in-chief.
This year's ranking was a significant boost for Pacific, which was listed at number 117 in 2010. Since last year's rankings, Pacific has expanded its on-campus recycling and energy efficiency programs, held the University's first Sustainability Month, put on a John Muir "Naturalist & Scientist" symposium, and converted 20 electric carts used by campus maintenance staff to solar-power.
As part of its green building policy, Pacific has built two LEED-certified buildings in the past three years: the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center and the John T. Chambers Technology Center. A third building, the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House, was completed this summer and built to LEED standards. In July, the Chambers Technology Center was granted a LEED Gold certificate, the second highest level issued for sustainable buildings.
The LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Certificate levels are certified, silver, gold and platinum.
Pacific's sustainability efforts involve a number of programs and projects, including installing high-efficiency lighting and other power-saving devices, using non-potable water for roughly 80 percent of the irrigation on the Stockton campus, using 100% green cleaning products on the Stockton campus, maintaining a community garden at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, and holding a sustainability film festival and office supply exchange program at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco.
Earlier this month, the University hired its first full-time sustainability director, Dr. Shanna Eller, to advance sustainability issues on all three campuses. In the new position, Eller will work on all three campuses to advance sustainability issues. She will collaborate with Pacific's Sustainability Committee and university administrators to implement the Sustainability Action Plan, monitor program effectiveness, serve as representative and liaison with various on-campus organizations and community organizations, and publicize Pacific's programs and initiatives. Eller also will perform research in the field and engage in professional activities related to sustainability and urban planning.