HBCUs May Be Black, But They’re Not Always Green
Yesterday’s Yahoo! news features included an interesting article in the rise of environmental rankings for U.S. colleges and universities. Apparently, the Princeton Review has added a “green rating” to its annual college guide. The rating will appear in the 2009 edition and is meant to indicate how “environmentally friendly, responsible, and committed the institutions are.”
According to the Princeton Review Guide, the schools with the best green ratings are: Arizona State University (Tempe), Bates College, Binghamton University, College of the Atlantic, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of New Hampshire, University of Oregon, University of Washington, Yale University.
In addition there are a number of other rankings, some more scientific than others, that indicate those schools most heavily committed to (and successful at) reducing their negative impact on the environment. Curiously, almost none of those institutions are HBCUs.
A handful of HBCUs have signed onto the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. They are: Coppin State, Xavier University, Dillard University, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science, and Norfolk State University. Though I am pleased that at least some HBCUs showed up on the list, many surprising names were missing from the list. I would, for example, have expected the presidents of Howard, Spelman, Morehouse, Hampton, and FAMU to have signed the Presidents Climate Commitment.
On those rare occasions when HBCUs showed up in the various green ratings and pledge lists, they were at the bottom of the rankings. The Sustainable Edowments Institute has developed one of the most thorough reviews of college environmental policies and sustainability. Howard and Spelman are the only HBCUs included on the Sustainable Edowments Institute 2008 College Sustainability Report Card, earning bottom marks for what the Institute describes as their failure to make significant movements on conservation, sustainability, and waste reduction. The Institute gave Spelman a grade of D-, which is at least higher than Howard‘s F.
Black colleges should be spearheading the spread of environmental awareness and the adoption of sustainable living strategies throughout the African American community. Instead, it seems that those HBCUs best positioned to make an impact (due to their strong endowments and national reputations) have yet to take action on their own campuses.
I would have hoped for better.
Posted by Ajuan Mance