Columbia Featured in The Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges: 2017

Columbia University is one of the 375 most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The education services company known for its test prep and tutoring services, books, and college rankings features Columbia in the 2017 edition of its free book, The Princeton Review Guide to 375 Green Colleges.

September 20, 2017

Published September 19, the ranking can be accessed at

The Princeton Review said this about Columbia’s sustainability:

“Located within walking distance of grassy Central Park, Columbia University’s campus is evolving into one of New York City’s green landmarks in its own right. Surrounded by one of the biggest and densest collections of building in the world, the university has put its location to good use—recently launching the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center in order to promote green building technologies in New York City. The Urban Design Lab has committed to local environmental design and sustainable economic development, combining the vast intellectual and financial resources of the architecture and engineering schools. The challenges of developing sustainable infrastructure in a bustling urban environment are real, which makes Columbia’s recent LEED Platinum for its 17-acre Manhattanville campus plan in West Harlem even more impressive. Leave it to one of the oldest and most historically rooted universities in the world to stake claim to the first Platinum of its kind in New York City. (And the first for a University plan nationally!) This estimable bit of green construction will only add to Columbia’s significant collection of LEED-certified buildings, which welcomed seven LEED Gold or LEED Silver endeavors in the last several years. Of course, construction is just one of many fortunate opportunities to advance sustainability in Manhattan—Columbia has devoted considerable effort to healthy local food, greenmarkets, vegetative roofs, and more efficient water treatment. Always a beacon in academia and leadership, students are offered a choice of twenty-four degrees in environmental study to complement thirty-three environmental research centers, while organizations such as the Earth Institute and Columbia EcoReps contribute to the active presence of the sustainability movement in everyday campus life.”

The Princeton Review chose the schools for this seventh annual edition of its "green guide" based on data from the company's 2016-17 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning the schools' commitments to the environment and sustainability. (Notes follow on how schools were chosen.)

"We strongly recommend Columbia and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges," said The Princeton Review's Robert Franek, Senior VP-Publisher.

Franek noted the growing interest the company has seen among college-bound students in green colleges. "Among more than 10,000 teens and parents who participated in our 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64% told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college."  (A complete report on that survey is at

The profiles in The Princeton Review's Guide to 375 Green Colleges provide information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body stats. 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.

How Schools Were Chosen for the Guide

The Princeton Review chose the colleges based on "Green Rating" scores (from 60 to 99) that the company tallied in summer 2017 for 629 colleges using data from its 2016-17 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. More than 25 data points were weighted in the assessment. Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into this guide. Most of the schools (362) in this edition are in the U.S. Twelve are in Canada. One is in Egypt. Information about Princeton Review's Green Rating and its Green Honor Roll saluting schools that received the highest possible rating score, 99, is at  Note: The scores can be found in the profiles of the schools on and in the 2017 edition of The Princeton Review books, The Best 382 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges, published in August 2017.

How the Top 50 Green Colleges List Was Done

The Princeton Review developed the ranking list using data from its institutional survey for its Green Rating and its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the institutional survey were factored into the assessment. Data from the student survey included student ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; adminis­tration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups.