Just in time for Earth Day, the Princeton Review has released its 2012 Guide to Green Colleges. The 232-page guide is the only free, comprehensive guide to green colleges that is updated annually.

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This third edition of the book salutes the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges.” It profiles 322 institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

To produce this book, Princeton Review partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council, a national nonprofit organization best known for developing the LEED green building rating system. The partners based their choices on a 2011 survey of hundreds of colleges to tally The Princeton Review’s annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99). Schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment.

The 16 schools that received a score of 99 are saluted on the Green College Honor Roll, listed here in alphabetical order: 

  • American University

  • Arizona State University

  • College of the Atlantic

  • Dickinson College

  • Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Harvard College

  • Northeastern University

  • Oregon State University

  • San Francisco State University

  • State University of New York at Binghamton

  • University of California—Santa Cruz

  • University of Maine

  • University of Washington

  • University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point

  • Virginia Tech

  • Warren Wilson College

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 68 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.”

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College applicants using the guide will find in it:

  • School profiles with application, admission, financial aid and student enrollment information

  • “Green Highlights” write-ups detailing each school’s most impressive environmental and sustainability initiatives

  • “Green Facts” sidebars reporting statistics and facts on everything from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies programs, and green jobs career guidance

  • A glossary of 40+ green terms and acronyms from AASHE to “zero waste”

  • Lists identifying schools in the book with various green distinctions – among them: those with LEED-certified buildings and those that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Photo: A student with citrus at the University of California, Riverside, which scored 95 out of 99 possible points in The Princeton Review’s 2012 Guide to Green Colleges.(Courtesy UCR Today)