The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

PSU Among the Coolest Schools in the Nation for Sustainability

on September 3, 2015

I am pleased to be able to post an article about Portland State University where I was an adjunct professor and a supervisor of student teachers for 12 years. I have great respect for the University, especially its Teacher Education Department. I found this article in the University’s monthly bulletin yesterday.


Portland State University ranked this week among the Sierra Club’s top colleges and universities nationally for sustainability practices.

Sierra Magazine Coolest Schools 2015–Top 20 badgeThe “Cool Schools” ranking is published by Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, and recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate a deep commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues, and encouraging environmental responsibility.

This is the fifth time Portland State has been named to the Cool Schools list, but this year the University landed at its highest ranking yet—number 20 out of more than 150 schools across the nation that submitted survey data for consideration.

So how did PSU jump to number 20 from its previous position at 34?

“PSU made a lot of great strides last year,” said Jenny McNamara, campus sustainability manager. “We’ve taken steps to reduce our water and energy consumption, bring more local food to campus, and minimize the waste we send to the landfill. And we continue to offer our students amazing opportunities to get engaged in these efforts through classes and programs like the Sustainability Volunteer Program.”

Last year, PSU launched a voluntary carbon offset program for department air travel, expanded compost collection to all residence halls and department break rooms, engaged hundreds of freshman students in conducting waste audits of campus buildings, and earned its Tree Campus USA badge for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

“Young people understand the need to confront climate disruption and jump-start our economy,” said Karissa Gerhke, national director of the Sierra Student Coalition. “‘Cool Schools’ is a showcase of campuses taking concrete steps toward those goals.”

The full ranking of 153 colleges, including each school’s completed questionnaire, is online at Sierra Club’s Cool Schools page.

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