As the world celebrates Earth Day, Stonehill is proud to announce its inclusion in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition." The guide, which was created in partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the only free, comprehensive resource for college applicants that focuses solely on saluting colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability.
The Princeton Review chose the schools for the guide based on a survey it conducted in 2013 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools' commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The institutional survey included questions on the schools' course offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.
"We are pleased to recommend Stonehill to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices,” said Senior Vice President & Publisher of The Princeton Review Rob Franek.
In 2012 with encouragement from students, Stonehill became the 12th Catholic college in the United States to sign the St. Francis Pledge, which is a public promise to “protect God’s creation and the environment, and to advocate for those who are impacted the most by global climate change.”
That commitment is seen in projects ranging from a solar farm and water conservation contests to Zipcars and bike rentals. Many of these projects stemmed from student-led efforts as a growing number of student groups on campus are dedicated to addressing environmental concerns. They include the Activism Club, Students for Environmental Action (SEA), the Mindful Living Environmental Action Committee, ENACTUS (Enterprise, Action and Us), Food Truth, and more.
Some of the largest student-led initiatives have included food waste composting and an effort to phase out bottled water on campus. Stonehill now saves 600 pounds of compostable trash every week from ending up in landfills and also made a pledge to phase out the use of bottled water on campus.
The College has also introduced a Green Fund, in which $10,000 is committed annually for students to use toward environmental initiatives.
Stonehill’s most recent green project was the addition of a 15-acre solar field built on an unused parcel of land across from the main campus on Route 138 in Easton. The field is 2.7 megawatts and contains 9,000 solar panels which makes it the 11th (tied) largest solar installation on a college campus nationwide and the largest on a New England college campus according to the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) database. The solar field, which is expected to be fully operating within the next few months, will save the College over $185,000 a year or an estimated $3.2 million over the course of a 15-year contract it has signed with New Jersey-based Marina Energy. The energy produced is expected to account for 20% of Stonehill’s electrical usage.
“We are thrilled to be included in The Princeton Review guide for the first time. Sustainability is now an important part of the College’s strategic plan and is also a key element of the College’s Catholic identity. Over the last several years we have worked diligently on becoming a more sustainable campus and receiving this recognition demonstrates we are on the right path and making great strides in that area,” said Stonehill Energy Manager Jessa Gagne.