By Julia Gluszcz
The University of Maryland (UMD) is not only one of the top public universities in the nation, but is now the “greenest” university. According to a recent virtual competition conducted by SaveOnEnergy, a company that helps consumers takes advantage of emerging energy markets.
As a play on the annual spring NCAA basketball tournament, the company created a bracketed competition pitting 16 of the tournaments universities against one another. To determine each schools green score, the company used factors such as LEED-certified construction and waste diversion rates, sustainability initiatives, sustainable food dinning services, and alternative transportation solutions.
Entering the competition, UMD was in fact the faux-competitions top seed. Maryland was recognized for its 90 percent diversion rate and for the field’s second highest percentage of LEED-certified construction.
The recent competition aside, the university has been proactive in engaging students through its“Green Ways” program, which promotes sustainable practices on campus.
From the recycling club to Greek life, many campus organizations participate in some form of sustainability project or effort to help the university stay green.
“There are so many different groups involved and being engaged in sustainability. They care about sustainability. They want others to care about sustainability,” said Andrew Muir, Communications Director for UMD’s Office of Sustainability.
Muir cited “green” transportation, as one quantitative example of how students and the university have embraced sustainability.
“Bike registration has increased. The numbers of bike racks have increased. We have more shared lane marking and there are more bike repair stations around campus,” said Muir.
Beyond demonstrative practices however, UMD is also embracing sustainability academically. The school of Public Policy now offers several environmentally-tinged specializations, thru its Energy and Environment Program.