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Nov. 29, 2021

MSU rises in the Princeton Review rating of top green colleges

Michigan State University has been recognized for the third consecutive year as one of the nation’s top green colleges in the 2022 Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges.

MSU, positioned at No. 21 in the nation, is the only Michigan school appearing on Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges. The Top 50 Green Colleges represent those schools that are making strong commitments and progress in sustainability and the environment, ranging from academics and career prep to operations and initiatives.

“I am pleased to see MSU continues to be recognized for our sustainability education, research and practices,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Our long legacy of green discovery and application takes future form in our strategic plan’s goals for university climate neutrality, resource stewardship, innovation, instruction and outreach.”

“The Board of Trustees is extremely proud of the sustainability success at Michigan State University,” said Dianne Byrum, chairperson of the MSU Board of Trustees. “Being green is in our blood. Our innovation and forward-looking planning enables us to be a leader in higher education and I’m proud to be recognized for our efforts.”

Since first being designated as a top 50 school in 2019, MSU has continued to advance sustainability efforts consistent with its four pillars of success: campus, curriculum, community and culture. 

MSU’s sustainability achievements include:

  • Gold rating for its STARS reporting through the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Gold rating as a Bicycle Friendly University
  • Gold rating in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for 2020
  • Gold campus for Exercise is Medicine
  • Tree Campus Higher Education campus for the fourth year
  • Gold award recipient in the Residential Dining Facility category for the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards through The National Association of College and University Food Services.
  • No. 4 in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for Sustainable Development Goal No. 2: Zero Hunger. 

As part of embedding sustainability throughout the university, MSU continues to invest in infrastructure and programs that link student experiential opportunities with community engagement through sustainability leadership, capacity building, cutting-edge research and innovation. 


  • Built with a student-centric focus, the Minskoff Pavilion at the Broad College of Business achieved a gold rating through LEED. Additionally, the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility received a Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award in recognition of its mass timber construction.

  • Through a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, MSU has added a new robotic sorter at the Surplus Store and Recycling Center to reduce sorting costs while increasing recycling and safety.
  • As a designated Climate Resilience Hub by Communities Respond to Extreme Weather, the MSU Libraries have been providing programming to the greater community around extreme weather preparedness and impacts of climate change.
  • Through a $2.25 million grant  received from the U.S. Department of Energy, MSU is creating an Industrial Assessment Center that will provide students with hands-on experience in energy efficiency measures while enabling Michigan industry to be more sustainable.
  • Strengthening its commitment to pollinator research, outreach and education, MSU established the Pollinator Performance Center, which will also serve as the home of the Heroes to Hives program. MSU also was chosen to participate in the Pollinator Partnership’s Project Wingspan to increase pollinator habitat on campus.
  • MSU is one of eight partners in the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Consortium, recently established by the U.S. Geological Survey, that brings together universities, nongovernmental organizations, and government and tribal partners to support management and protection of natural resources with actionable climate science, innovation and decision-support tools. 

“This rating reflects the passion and commitment of MSU’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and community in advocating for the planet and preparing the next generation of leaders,” said Amy Butler, MSU director of sustainability. To be included in the top 50 for three consecutive years attests not only to our commitment to sustainability but also how sustainability is a part of advancing our mission and building the roadmap to a global sustainable future.”

The Top Green Colleges ranking appeared in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition. The guide, which featured 420 schools out of 835 surveyed, is based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The profiles in the guide present information on each school’s renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs; the availability of environmental studies in academic offerings; and career guidance for green jobs. 

“Given the sobering indicators of climate change and global calls to prioritize sustainability, we are pleased to shine a light on these schools and recommend them for their exceptional commitment to the environment,” said Rob Franek, editor in chief of The Princeton Review.

For more information about “The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition,” the top 50 list or the way rankings are determined, visit The Princeton Review’s website

By: Amy Butler

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