Princeton Review's 'Green Colleges' Features St. Lawrence | St. Lawrence University

Princeton Review's 'Green Colleges' Features St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence University is one of the nation's 361 most environmentally responsible colleges according to the 2016 edition of The Princeton Review's Guide to 361 Green Colleges.

Princeton Review chose the schools for this seventh-annual edition of its green guide based on data from its 2015-16 survey of four-year colleges concerning commitments to the environment and sustainability. The profiles in Guide to 361 Green Colleges provide information about admission requirements, cost and financial aid, and student body as well as “Green Facts” such as the availability of transportation alternatives and the percentage of the school food budgets spent on local food.

“St. Lawrence’s culture of sustainability extends from academics to co-curricular activities to University operations,” said Ryan Deuel, spokesperson for St. Lawrence. “Environmental literacy is such an important component of the St. Lawrence learning experience that it is now a graduation requirement for all students. The University also has made commitments that ensure more than 95 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources, including long-term agreements with hydro and solar facilities that will supply the campus with clean and renewable energy for decades.”

The Princeton Review notes that Johnson Hall of Science was the first LEED Gold-certified science building in New York State, and, as part of St. Lawrence’s promise to achieve climate neutrality, all future construction will be designed to meet LEED Silver certification, including Kirk Douglas Hall, which opened in August 2014 and uses 24 geothermal wells for heating and cooling. 

The University also took part in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, or STARS. St. Lawrence earned high marks for its environmental literacy component, designated courses where students must demonstrate an understanding of the consequences of human activities on natural systems; an awareness of the cultural, economic and political forces that affect environmental policies; and, an understanding of natural systems and the impacts they can have on the environment, human life, health and welfare.

For more than a decade, St. Lawrence has offered students a unique off-campus learning experience through its Adirondack Semester. The program enables students to study nature and human relationships with nature while living in a yurt village “off the grid” deep in the Adirondack Park. The University’s Department of Environmental Studies offers stand-alone and combined degrees that focus on sustainability, while the conservation biology major places protection of the world’s biodiversity as a central tenant. Students can also gain outdoor leadership experience and course credit through its Outdoor Program.

Students also engage in a number of sustainable initiatives themselves, such as participating (and winning two years in row) the Negawatt Challenge. The competition challenges students at New York Six colleges to reduce their electrical consumption in residence halls over a three-week period. Popular student organizations include the Environmental Action Organization, which promotes campus sustainability, as well as the Low Impact Living Greenhouse theme cottage.

The Princeton Review chose colleges based on “Green Rating” scores (from 60 to 99). Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into this guide. The survey is available online at

For more information about sustainable efforts at St. Lawrence University, visit