September 2014

Santa Clara University Earns Perfect Score in Green College Honor Roll

September 2, 2014 Santa Clara, Calif.-- Santa Clara University is heading into the 2014–15 school year with new bragging rights: a top spot in Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll. The Jesuit university in Silicon Valley earned its first perfect score in the rankings of 861 colleges across the country. The rankings note Santa Clara’s vested interest in environmental justice and sustainable living practices for the benefit of society at large.

“Our focus on sustainability can be seen across departments in the Santa Clara community and we’re honored to have our extensive efforts recognized, says Lindsey Kalkbrenner, director of the Center for Sustainability. “Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword or small project. It’s engrained in our culture and everything we do.”

Santa Clara University is among 24 schools to earn a perfect score including Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell universities. SCU is now featured in the Princeton Review Guide’s Best 379 Colleges and the Complete Book of Colleges. The publisher found 61 percent of the 10,116 college applicants surveyed for its 2014 “College Hopes and Worries Survey” reported a college’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school. Many students in SCU’s incoming Class of 2018 included reflections on the meaning of sustainability in their applications.

“It’s clear more students are placing importance on a school’s commitment to the environment in their college searches and we’re proud to show them we walk the walk when it comes to sustainability,” says Mike Sexton, SCU’s vice president for enrollment management.

SCU offers majors in environmental studies and environmental science. Last year, 778 courses related to sustainability were available to students. The University’s Experiential Learning for Social Justice component requires all undergraduates to participate in community-based learning, which often involves environmental justice projects.

The Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project (SLURP) supports yearlong research projects on ways to make residence life more sustainable. With help from SLURP, teams of students have coordinated the installation of water fountains to cut usage of plastic bottles, studied the effectiveness of fair trade and energy conservation campaigns on campus, and produced documentaries about campus sustainability. Students have also partnered with SCU’s dining services to establish a food recovery program where leftovers are donated to a local food kitchen.

Media Contact: Marika E. Krause (408) 829-4836

Other Facts:

  • SCU generated 41,381 therms of onsite solar thermal power and 1.7 million kWh of onsite photovoltaic electricity.
  • SCU has decreased greenhouse gas emissions per person by 40 percent since 2005.
  • Forty percent of all University vehicles are hybrid or electric and staff and faculty receive benefits such as free carpool parking and reduced rates for public transportation.
  • SCU undergraduates can also choose to live in the CyPhi Residential Learning Community, which is focused on sustainability and the arts and houses 20 percent of campus residents.
  • SCU has set a Gold LEED standard for new construction on campus.
  • The campus diverted 58 percent of waste from landfills in 2013 with extensive advocacy for recycling and composting.
  • Over 85 percent of SCU’s 104 acre campus is irrigated with recycled water.
  • SCU has set an ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by the end of 2015.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see