A comprehensive survey released on Earth Day by The Building Green Initiative (BGI) at Clark Atlanta University named Florida A&M University (FAMU) as one of the “Top 10 Greenest” historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). BGI stated HBCUs are driving energy efficiency on their campuses and promoting sustainability through their policies, practices and curriculums.
The survey ranked the nation’s most eco-friendly HBCUs and found the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University were the top green campuses among public institutions, while Spelman College and Howard University topped the list for private schools, BGI director, Felicia Davis announced today.
“Black colleges are going green,” said Davis. “This survey provides a clear picture of the wide-ranging activities underway at HBCUs to generate renewable energy, build to LEED Gold Certification standards and engage students in green initiatives, ecological curriculum and sustainable lifestyles.”
According to the survey results, all of the top institutions have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, created sustainability committees, and are taking steps to reduce campus emissions. FAMU became a signatory in 2013 in an effort to publicly declare its commitment to an environmental leadership role in accord with the institution’s historic mission.
FAMU Environment and Sustainability Council Chairman Richard Gragg, Ph.D., said sustainability and environmental issues have become emphasized across the university’s curriculum, including agriculture, allied and public health sciences, architecture, engineering, business, law and journalism.
“We established the FAMU Environment and Sustainability Council in 2008 to embark upon a comprehensive and integrated approach to institutionalize sustainability and make FAMU a well-recognized green and sustainable campus,” said Gragg. “The big opportunity is to institutionalize sustainability in the context and framework of FAMU’s rich and storied relationship to the environment rooted in its history, its people and community, and its recognition as a pioneering academic institution.”
Rankings were determined by analyzing responses from 43 participating HBCUs in the areas of administration, energy efficiency, green building, recycling, renewable energy generation, food, transportation, purchasing and student involvement.
“We determined that students are getting more involved in the environmental movement on HBCU campuses,” said Andrea Harris, president of North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development (NCIMED), the company commissioned to analyze the survey. “HBCUs are also using innovative, green technologies to address health, economic and educational challenges in underserved communities.”
The participating schools were separated into two ranking categories: public and private institutions. Of the colleges surveyed, the top 10 green HBCUs for 2014 are:
University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Princess Anne, Md.)
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Elizabeth City State University (Elizabeth City, N.C.)
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University (Greensboro, N.C.)
(Three-Way Tie) Morgan State University (Baltimore, Md.), Bowie State University (Bowie, MD) & Mississippi Valley State University (Itta Bena, Miss.)
Spelman College (Atlanta, Ga.)
Howard University (Washington, DC)
Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.)
Livingstone College (Salisbury, N.C.)
(Tie) Claflin University (Orangeburg, S.C.) & Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.)
Housed on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, the Building Green Initiative works to increase campus-wide sustainability at minority serving institutions with a strong focus on HBCUs. BGI is an advocate for innovative financing to support green building, energy efficiency retrofits, green revolving loan funds, interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability curriculum and student engagement. NCIMED is an established nonprofit organization with 26 years of experience promoting and contributing data and information as key components of a knowledge-based economy.