News Source: 
USA Today

For 21 colleges and universities, paving paradise to put up parking lots is a thing of the past.

The Princeton Review released its Green Honor Roll, which recognizes schools that received a green rating of 99, just in time for Earth Day.

According to the Review, the rating measures "a school's performance as an environmentally aware and responsible institution" and primarily considers sustainable campus living, academic coursework in sustainability and sustainable school policies to determine the score.

Many of the schools, including Harvard University, credited their students as the force behind sustainability.

"The students understand the facts, science and knowledge out there and they want change," said Heather Henriksen, director of Harvard's Office for Sustainability. "They won't let us just teach and do research in the classroom, they want to see it in practice too."

At Harvard, 97% of all students use alternative transportation to get to class each day. The school also offers more than 200 environmental courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

"We want to educate future leaders of the world and use our campus to create role models who will encourage others to live sustainably too," Henriksen said.

Across the country, on the lush, green University of Washington campus in Seattle, faculty and staff use "the formative experience" of college to instill lifelong, sustainable habits, said Norm Arkans, university spokesman.

"We are a large institution with a significant carbon footprint," Arkans said. "We wanted to be practicing what we were preaching: It's good practice to limit the impact we have on the community we inhabit."

In practice, the university saves about 30 million gallons of water yearly because it replaced 1,500 old toilets. It has 15 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings and 50% of its on-campus food offerings are organic, local or fair trade.