FLC student Lisa Mullins displays a reusable water bottle, courtesy of her "Bottle Busters" campaign aimed at reducing plastic waste on campus.
Caring for the Earth is cool. And that caring on the Fort Lewis College campus makes it one of America's Coolest Schools, says Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, in its October 2011 issue.
For the "5th Annual America's Coolest Schools" feature, Sierra staff reviewed colleges and universities across the country for their on-campus conservation and recycling practices, environmental and outdoor courses and activities, offerings of organic and locally grown foods, and administrative commitment toward environmental sustainability
The staff sought "detailed, quantitative work to rank U.S. universities on their greenness." They also "wanted to find out what lessons are learned when the classroom walls fall away," the introduction to the list says. "What happens when students sleep on damp earth, grow their own food, or build homes for the poor? Here's our hypothesis: They change, on the inside and on the outside."
Creating that change -- on campus and in students --- put Fort Lewis College on this year's list of the top green campuses in the country, and earning it the title of one of the "coolest" for students who want to put their Earth-friendly passions into action.
FLC earned its inclusion thanks to energy and water-use efficiency and design in the campus' building and grounds -- including three new LEED Gold certified buildings -- for serving 25 percent food grown or raised within 100 miles, and offering a campus garden where students can work. The work of the Environmental Center, the campus recycling program, and individual and group student initiatives such as this year's Bottle Buster campaign were also cited.
Green academic programs also are recognized. FLC offers several environment and/or sustainability-related majors, including Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology, and Environmental Geology, as well as Environmental Policy and Mountain Studies minors.
There are also classes about clean technologies, such those studying, researching, and applying green chemistry practices in the Chemistry Department.
FLC's outdoor, field, and community-based programs also are noted for encompassing environmental stewardship, including courses in Adventure Education, Geology, Sociology, and Anthropology. Outdoor Pursuits was also a highlighted extra-curricular program, for its outfitting student outdoor ventures, and offering workshops and guided backcountry trips for all skill levels.
The listing also recognized the school administration's commitment to growing the campus' environmentally conscious programming and design through the campus-wide Sustainability Action Plan and the signing onto the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
Read "America's Coolest Schools" in Sierra here.
Learn more about environmental sustainability at Fort Lewis College here.