Chatham News

Princeton Review lists Chatham University among most environmentally responsible colleges in Guide to 322 Green Colleges

The annual publication is produced in partnership with the
U.S. Green Building Council

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
April 20, 2012

PITTSBURGH (April 20, 2012) … Chatham University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the Guide to 322 Green Colleges, a collaboration between The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council. Released on Tuesday, April 17, the third annual edition of this free guide (downloadable at profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. Chatham received a “Green Rating” score of 98 out of a possible 99.

This honor was announced the same week Chatham was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2011-2012 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the President’s Athletic Conference. In addition, Chatham’s green initiatives were recognized in 2011 with the “Green Power: Make It” award from the Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future.

The University is also a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (68 percent) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he added. “Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices.  To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book.”

About Chatham’s Green Initiatives
Chatham has purchased renewable power since 2002, and now purchases 100 percent of its total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power. Two grants were recently awarded to Chatham, allowing the installation of solar thermal water heating that is designed to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and insulate against fluctuating energy costs. The largest installation of its kind in Pennsylvania and the 8th largest solar water heating installation in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative project database, the project incorporates advanced microchannel technology from Solar Tomorrow, Inc.

A successful school–wide single–stream recycling program is complimented by a robust composting program. Reflecting Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food, food service provider Parkhurst Dining Services purchases 20 percent of its food from local sources through its FarmSource program and coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low–carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. In addition, eliminating the use of trays in 2009 has resulted in at least a 25 percent reduction of energy and encourages less food waste, and the switch to reusable take-out containers in 2011 has led to additional dramatic waste reduction.

In addition to maintaining a fleet of biodiesel shuttle busses to that transport students between its Shadyside and Eastside Campuses and to nearby local universities, Chatham is one of the first Pennsylvania employers to offer a $20 a month tax credit to workers who bike for a “substantial portion” of their commute. The Bicycle Commuter Act tax credit was part of 2008’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and Chatham was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its participation. Chatham was also recently became the first university in Pennsylvania to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly University, receiving the bronze-level designation. Chatham was previously awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the league.

About Chatham’s new School of Sustainability and the Environment
Chatham’s new Eden Hall Campus will be home to the School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE), founded in 2009. Located on a 388-acre site north of the University’s historic Shadyside Campus, the new campus will feature innovative climate positive buildings and landscape design. When the Eden Hall Foundation presented the gift of Eden Hall Farm to Chatham in 2008, University leaders seized the rare opportunity to build an entire campus from the ground up – the first of the 21st century.

This new campus will serve as a living laboratory that will serve more than 1,000 students in a climate and water resources neutral, zero net energy integrated facility. Each building on campus will be connected through energy and water loops that will allow excess energy from one building to heat another, or rainwater harvested from one building to supply another with potable water. This integrated design exemplifies the school’s systems-based approach to solving environmental concerns, and provides a unique learning opportunity.  Students will take what they learned and apply it on a global scale through study-abroad opportunities and partnerships with international universities.

Academic programs at the SSE help students acquire the knowledge and practical skills necessary to manage the complex challenges posed by sustainability. Chatham’s Master of Sustainability is a two-year, full-time cohort program that focuses on identifying and finding solutions to real-world sustainability challenges and developing an academically sound, yet professionally oriented understanding of how to simultaneously improve economic development, social justice, and the biophysical environment. The Certificate in Sustainable Management (CSM) is an online program designed with professionals in mind that can be completed in as little as one year. The Master of Arts in Food Studies (MAFS) attracts students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds seeking experience and training in intellectual and practical skills related to all stages of the food system.

How Schools Were Chosen for the Book
The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a survey it conducted in 2011 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs.  The company tallied Green Ratings for 768 institutions in summer 2011. The 322 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this guide hierarchically (1 to 322) according to their Green Rating scores, nor does it include those scores in this book’s school profiles.) Information about The Princeton Review’s Green Rating methodology and its “Green Honor Roll” list saluting schools that received Green Ratings of 99 is available online. 

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review ( has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for 30 years through college and graduate school test preparation, private tutoring, and more than 150 print and digital publications. The team includes more than 5,000 teachers and tutors in the United States and Canada, and a network of international franchisees. The Princeton Review provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for higher education. The company also partners with schools and guidance counselors worldwide to assist in college readiness, test preparation, and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education. 

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is how USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, the center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue, accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses. Thanks in part to generous support from founding sponsor United Technologies Corporation, the center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials, and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work, and play. For more information, please visit

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit