OSU Ranked #15 on Sierra Cool Schools!
Yesterday the Sierra Club released the 2018 Sierra Cool Schools ranking, which is their list of the most sustainable universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. OSU ranked number 15, a considerable improvement from our number 20 ranking last year and something to be incredibly proud of, since the list is out of 269 schools that submitted applications!
What is the Methodology Behind the Ranking?
The Sierra Club collaborates with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to obtain the data for the Sierra Cool Schools ranking. According to the Sierra Club, they amendedtheir 2018 ranking methodology in order to increase alignment with AASHE’s scoring system (STARS), minimize errors in data input, improve the integrity of their data, and increase the transparency of their ranking process.
In order to be eligible for the 2018 rankings, institutions must have earned at least a Bronze STARS rating within the last three years (after 2015). Once the institutions submitted their data to AASHE, AASHE forwarded it to the Sierra Club. Then the Sierra Club used a custom formula that transformed the AASHE scores into Sierra Club scores; the weighting criteria spans 18 categories, from “curriculum” to “water.” Essentially, Sierra Club takes AASHE’s score for a particular category and then multiplies it by a factor that either increases or decreases that category’s weight when compared to every other category. They repeat this process of applying their own weights to the 18 AASHE category scores, in order to reflect Sierra Club’s priorities. For example, Sierra Club prioritizes categories such as energy, air and climate, and transportation, when compared to AASHE; they believe that progress in these areas is particularly important for addressing the climate crisis.
What Earned OSU a #15 Spot?
According to the article “Top 20 Coolest Schools 2018”, OSU’s divestment from fossil fuels, the availability of programs such as “humanitarian engineering” and “sustainable agroforestry”, our OSUsed Store, and our Eco-Reps program helped land us a number 15 ranking on the 2018 list.
“Cool School 2018 Methodology.” Sierra Club, Sierra Club, 28 Aug. 2018, www.sierraclub.org/sierra/cool-schools-2018/cool-school-2018-methodology.