• GMC ranks in top 10 for 'green' learning
     | August 19,2013
    Provided photo

    Green Mountain College students and faculty are shown last year working on a garden-to-table project. Sierra magazine has named the Poultney college one of the top 10 schools in the nation for environmental studies.

    POULTNEY — In recent years, Green Mountain College has lived up to its “green” name by focusing efforts on sustainability and renewable resources, which has prompted others to take notice.

    For the third time in four years, Sierra magazine has named the Poultney college one of the top 10 schools in the nation for environmental studies and operations. In the publication's seventh annual “Coolest Schools” list, GMC ranked sixth. The list honors higher education facilities that are dedicated to teaching and exhibiting acts of “greenness.”

    The college was the only one from Vermont to make the top 10, and this isn't a first, according to President Paul Fonteyn.

    “To be among the top 10 schools in the country for the third time in four years running shows our continuing commitment to be more sustainable in our programs and operations,” he said.

    Earlier this month, in addition to the Sierra magazine ranking, GMC was granted a perfect “99” green rating in The Princeton Review's 2014 guide to the best 378 colleges.

    But what exactly is the college doing to set itself apart?

    Sierra's editor-in-chief Bob Sipchen described what sets “green” schools apart and why GMC is doing so well.

    “For the past seven years, Sierra magazine has ranked colleges and universities on their commitment to fighting climate disruption and making sure the future their students will inhabit has safe water, clean air and beautiful landscapes,” he said. “By showing such strong leadership on so many fronts — from energy use and transportation to the courses they offer — the best of these schools are pointing the way for other institutions.

    According to the school's website, in 2006, GMC enrolled in Green Mountain Power's “Cow Power” program, which uses energy harvested from the methane in cow manure delivered from Vermont dairy farms. It designated 50 percent of its main campus to use Cow Power, as well as 100 percent on other areas including the president's house, the college farm, and an off-campus residence hall in Killington.

    In 2011, GMC became carbon neutral, which means the college removes as much carbon dioxide as it releases into the atmosphere. The college is only the second in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality, the website said.

    In addition, GMC recently released a new eight-year master plan, called “Sustainability 2020,” which declares an ambitious goal: to meet all its energy needs with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of the decade.

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