We increased the emphasis on clean versus dirty energy because we know from working with student activists around the country that it's just about the most important environmental investment a school can make. That's why the Sierra Student Coalition started a "Campuses Beyond Coal" campaign last year that targeted schools that still rely on coal power. The goal: to phase out coal and move every single college and university in the U.S. to 100% clean energy as quickly as possible.
Of course, some schools are already there -- and you'll find a bunch of them on the "Cool Schools" list. But what if your own school isn't on this list? Don't panic. That doesn't necessarily mean there's a coal-burning power plant out behind the softball field. Not every school we sent the survey to responded. If you don't see your school on the list, go to their website and check out what they have to say about their sustainability efforts. If you don't see some answers there, ask them why.
As it happens, my own alma mater, West Chester University, isn't on the "Cool Schools" list (they didn't return our survey) and does have a coal-powered steam plant. The good news is that they've already embarked on an ambitious plan to completely replace it with geothermal. How long before they're ranked in the top 100 greenest schools? I'm crossing my fingers it happens before the next class reunion.