Sierra, a publication of Sierra Club, ranked Northland College a “cool school” in its annual top-100 list of eco-savviest colleges and universities.
“For thirteen years, Sierra has been ranking colleges according to which ones offer the best sustainability-focused courses, eco-friendly cafeteria provisions, and carbon-neutral land and energy policies, as well as the most opportunities to engage with the environmental movement,” Sierra wrote in its introduction of the September edition.
Of the 282 schools in the running, Northland College ranked 26—up from 55 in 2018. Northland College was ranked 6—up from 14—among undergraduate colleges and remains first in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
“It means something to receive validation for our sustainability efforts from Sierra Club,” said Kate Ullman, sustainability director. “We’ve had an environmental mission since the early 1970s—but as the issues become more complex so do the solutions. This tells us we’re on the right track.”
In addition to the Sierra rankings, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) named Northland College top in the nation for sustainability curriculum. More than eighty percent of faculty incorporate sustainability into the classroom.
Some highlights of Northland College’s sustainability achievements this past year:
- Added sustainable agriculture as an academic program.
- Built high tunnel on campus to extend the growing season.
- Completed one-year inventory for Real Food Challenge.
- Composted an estimated 170,000 pounds of food waste—a 77 percent increase from the previous academic year.
- Northland College and the Northland College Student Association purchased 30kW of solar energy shares from the Xcel Solar Connect Community Garden.
Northland College is the home of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and in 1971 became one of the first colleges to offer an environmental studies degree. Northland is a member of the EcoLeague, a consortium of six colleges and universities that share missions based on environmental responsibility and social change.