Jeff Bennett '10 (left) and Albert Wright '10, who built a wind turbine on campus, were featured in Sierra magazine's "Cool Schools" issue.Jeff Bennett '10 (left) and Albert Wright '10, who built a wind turbine on campus, were featured in Sierra magazine's "Cool Schools" issue.

Current News

Sierra names Willamette one of the nation’s greenest schools

Sierra, the official magazine of the Sierra Club, has named Willamette University one of the nation's greenest schools for its commitment to the environment.

In its annual "Cool Schools" issue, released this week, Sierra included Willamette among the top 100 schools based on green practices relating to energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration and financial investments.

This is the second year Willamette was named a "Cool School." Willamette also has been recognized as first in the nation for sustainability activities by the National Wildlife Federation.

In addition to the rankings, Sierra featured recent Willamette graduates Jeff Bennett '10 and Albert Wright '10 in a feature on "Standout Students," which highlighted four student environment-related projects. Bennett and Wright built a wind turbine using grant money from Willamette's Center for Sustainable Communities. The turbine originally sat atop Collins Science Center, but now resides at Zena Forest, Willamette's outdoor research station.

The sustainable projects at Willamette that helped it earn "Cool School" status include:

  • The Center for Sustainable Communities, which offers research and programmatic opportunities for students, faculty and the community
  • Specialized sustainability certificate programs at the College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management
  • A student-run Bike Shop that provides free bicycle rentals, maintenance and repairs
  • Employing water and energy efficiency technologies across campus
  • Two buildings certified LEED Gold: Kaneko Commons residential facility and the Ford Hall academic building
  • A field research station at Zena Forest, a sustainably managed forest near Salem
  • Spending 70% of the food budget on items that traveled less than 500 miles to campus, and 65% on sustainably produced or harvested food
  • Reducing the use of pesticides and synthetics fertilizers on the campus grounds by 95% in the past three years