Author: Bailey Karfelt
Date: April 27, 2012
Date: April 27, 2012
Categories: Campus Life|Community|Impact

Houghton College is proud to announce their recent inclusion in the 3rd edition of the Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition. This one-of-a-kind resource, which is published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability.

For the second year in a row, Houghton College joins the ranks of outstanding universities and colleges nationwide that are leading the “green” movement through their own special programs and initiatives. Houghton’s personal commitment to “change the way we do things…in order to become better stewards of what God has given us” has shaped the college’s vision in creating numerous green initiatives on campus, including the formation of the “Creation Care Committee,” which offers tree seedling planting, an “adopt a tree” initiative and sponsored shuttle services for off-campus faculty/staff events.

“Houghton is honored to again be selected by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 322 green colleges and shares this distinction with only two other C.C.C.U. schools,” said Ginny Routhe, sustainability coordinator at Houghton College. “It is encouraging to have the sustainability efforts of many different departments on campus recognized by this distinction.”

At least nine departments on Houghton’s campus offer “Creation Care Courses” addressing environmental or sustainability issues, and Houghton further prepares its students for the green job sector by offering a “Job Shop” online database that includes green job websites and opportunities. Various sustainability research opportunities are available to students, including research in ecosystem stability and biodegradable plastics. Psychology students have conducted sustainability research examining energy use and carbon sequestration in the college’s forests, while communication students are working on creating a training video for other groups seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Additionally, the college proudly reduces its energy consumption by utilizing fluorescent and LED lighting and electronic ballasts, and has made plans in conjunction with an energy consulting firm to implement a voluntary “brown out” program to reduce overall electric usage.

The changes the college is making are steady and significant, and have resulted in impressive numbers. Currently, over 90 percent of the campus grounds are maintained organically and 95 percent of the buildings on campus have gone through energy-related retrofits.

“A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments, all while saving energy, water and money as part of an institution’s bottom line,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “We launched the Center for Green Schools at USGBC with a vision of green schools for all within this generation. Partnering with The Princeton Review to provide this invaluable resource to college-bound students was a no-brainer for helping to create transformational change on these campuses.”

The 322 schools in the guide were chosen based on the “Green Rating” scores tallied for 2011. The Green Rating is a numerical score from 60 – 99 that’s based on data from a 50-question survey conducted among hundreds of school administrators about their school’s environmental and sustainability-related commitments and initiatives. Of the 768 schools tallied, the 322 schools mentioned in the guide all received scores of 83 or higher. The statistical information for these ratings was taken from colleges’ Common Data Set (C.D.S.) and Review Data Set (R.D.S.), collected during the 2010-11 cycle. Information about the rating methodology is available at

The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. In the fall of 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools ( to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

Released on April 17, days prior to the April 22 celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, the Princeton Review Guide has profiles of the colleges that provide application information plus facts, stats, and write-ups reporting on the schools’ environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings. The free guide can be downloaded at and