Cornell earns top marks in sustainability from national rating platforms

Campus Sustainability Office, Student Intern October 27, 2020
Cornell rankings

The University swept the top spots in national sustainability rankings this year. Cornell was recognized as one of the most sustainable higher education institutions in the country by Sierra Club, The Princeton Review, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, and Second Nature.

“Our campus community has worked tirelessly in the last decade to improve the sustainability of our food, waste, education, and engagement programs,” said Sarah Brylinsky, sustainability communications and integration manager of the Campus Sustainability Office. “These accolades are a testament to that work and an incentive for us to continue our leadership in higher education sustainability.”

Cornell University ranked 12th in Sierra magazine’s Coolest Schools out of 312 participating institutions. Cornell was the only Ivy League institution to make the top 20. The University was praised for its peer-to-peer education program, which served the entire campus community through the work of Residential Sustainability Leaders, Compost Managers, the Sustainability Ambassadors Network, and Green Teams

Sierra called Cornell “the coolest among the Ivies” for its commitment to sustainability. The Cool Schools Ranking weighs progress in energy, air, climate, and transportation more heavily than other sectors to align with Sierra Club’s priorities. 

Additionally, Cornell ranked 8th among The Princeton’s Review Green Colleges. The University was one of the 30 universities in The Princeton’s Review Green College Honor Roll. While nearly 700 colleges participated, the top 30 schools that made the honor roll each received a score of 99 - the highest possible. 

The Princeton Review’s Green Rating is a comprehensive assessment of an institution’s campus quality of life, environmentally responsible policies, and its preparations towards a carbon-neutral future. Cornell was the only Ivy, and one of two New York schools, to achieve the honor roll.

These accomplishments follow the University’s milestone of earning STARS Platinum earlier this year. Cornell, which maintained a gold rating since 2012, achieved platinum, the top status from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), becoming the 6th institution in the world to achieve the highest possible rating.

Cornell is also a signatory of Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment. In 2008, the university pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 and has maintained a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade, placing it among the top-performing campuses on track to reach their carbon neutrality goal.

Read more about Cornell’s commitment to sustainability in our 2019-2020 annual sustainability report.