Fresno State included on list of 322 green college campuses

Fresno State, cited for its solar power-generating parking structures, its new library and numerous other earth-friendly initiatives, is listed in the Princeton Review’s “Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.”

The guide profiles 322 campuses in the United States and Canada that “demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.”

The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) teamed up to release this third edition, intended to help prospective students choose a college that takes action on environmental concerns. The document is available free online and is issued around Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) to maximize exposure.

“We’re pleased to be recognized, which is a tribute to the efforts of a great many people around the campus,” said Fresno State President John D. Welty. “However, we are challenged in the amount we can do to further our sustainability initiatives. The deepening lack of state support has also forced us to cut staff and postpone upgrades that would significantly help make Fresno State an even greener campus.”

Fresno State, in the words of the guide, “is an impressive green campus in an impressively green state.”

It lauds the Henry Madden Library, which opened in 2009, for its electronic compact bookshelves, which increase storage while minimizing the building’s physical and carbon footprint. Motion-activated lighting, centralized heating and air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, furniture made from recycled materials and building materials sourced locally were other eco-friendly features in the evaluation.

The Peace Garden just north of the Library was cited for adding native plants that require minimal irrigation when it was renovated in 2009. As trees and other vegetation are replaced in the state-recognize arboretum that is Fresno State’s academic campus, drought-tolerant plantings are incorporated to help water conservation efforts.

A key point of the campus sustainability appeal is in the solar panel-topped parking structures just east of the Smittcamp Alumni House that generate about 20 percent of the university’s power demand. The guide says the system “offsets 950 metric tons of carbon monoxide emissions – the equivalent of planting more than 24,300 trees or eliminating 200 vehicles from the road a year!”

Fresno State’s International Center for Water Technology was applauded for its research into more-efficient water use, noting that in 2007, the university cut its landscape water use by one-third. Industry-university partnerships have explored a number of high-tech and more conventional ways to wring as much moisture possible out of every drop of water.

The Princeton Review’s guide lists only two other San Joaquin Valley universities: California State University, Stanislaus and the University of the Pacific. Besides Fresno and Stanislaus, the only other California State University campuses listed are Humboldt, Chico, San Francisco, Monterey Bay and Cal Poly-Pomona.

A copy of the guide can be downloaded at The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.

Lanny Larson

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Editor, University Communications
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