Located at the tip of Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Superior, Northland College is literally one of the coolest schools in the nation.
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Now Sierra magazine, a publication of the Sierra Club, has named the College in a list of “cool schools,” for its commitment to the environment and sustainability initiatives.
“We’re proud and pleased to have our efforts recognized—and we know that there’s a whole lot more that we can do, and look forward to doing,” said Scott Grinnell, director of sustainability initiatives at Northland College.
In a list made public last month, Sierra places Northland College fifty-fifth overall, fourteenth among undergraduate colleges, and first in Wisconsin.
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“Faculty, staff, and students live the College’s environmental mission every day, thinking about how our actions will advance sustainability in all forms—food, water, energy, stewardship, development, diversity, and social justice,” Grinnell said.
Sierra annually evaluates schools on a broad range of sustainability metrics including academic programming, transportation, waste disposal, energy, food, and campus innovation.
Some highlights of Northland College’s sustainability achievements this past year:
- More than 80 percent of faculty incorporate sustainability into the classroom
- Composted 96,000 pounds of food waste for 2017/18 school year.
- Spent 46 percent of budget on local foods (within 100 miles of campus).
- Voted to divest from fossil fuels.
- Northland College Student Association purchased 100, 200-watt solar shares at Xcel Solar Garden.
- Became Wisconsin’s first Bee Campus as a way to promote pollinators.
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.
In addition to the Cool Schools rating, Northland College achieved a STARS Gold rating earlier this year in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.