Smith #30 on Sierra Magazine’s “Coolest Schools” List

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August seems to be the month of revelations as far as college rankings go.  From US News to Forbes, Smith has placed near the top on nearly all of the reports in 2010.  Sierra Magazine, a publication that has established itself as a conduit for “…people who care deeply about nature,” released its 2010 list of “America’s Cool Schools” in its September/October issue (Sierra’s Official Website).

Sierra Magazine sent a detailed survey to colleges across America, using it as an adhesive for each college to describe its contribution in terms of: efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and a more ambiguous section titled “other initiatives.”  Although no school scored 100, the schools that scored in the Top 10 (including out friendly neighbor Hampshire College, with ranked #10) demonstrated a superior record of promoting sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

Smith College made the list at #30!  We’re (somewhat) sustainable! Smith’s sompleted survey covers a lot of interesting information on Smith’s efforts to reduce any detrimental, wasteful energy practices. Oh yeah, and Amherst is like #90…LOL.

Some of Smith College’s more interesting answers, which includes a nice shout out to Bike Kitchen, can be viewed if you click the link


“Smith is upgrading bicycle parking and related facilities. Ford Hall our new molecular science and engineering building includes showers for bike commuters. In addition, student organization, the “Bike Kitchen” helps students learn how to maintain their bikes. Student volunteers help other students learn how to repair flat tires, rusty chains, bad breaks, gear and shifting problems and general tune up. Students can rent bikes for $15/ semester. This past spring students from the Bike Kitchen cooperated with the Alumnae Association in the Associations efforts to “green up” reunion weekends by providing rental services during two reunion weekends in May. Almost all bikes were rented during these weekends.”


“We have removed almost all of the incandescent and HID lighting inside buildings. Upgrades include LED exit signs, T8, T5HO fluorescent technology, delamping, adding reflectors, electronic ballasts and sensors.   We’re currently retrofitting all of the T-12 fluorescent lighting with T-8 lamps, electronic ballasts and  sensors. Total electricity use  2004: 24.6 million 2008: 22.4 million kWh (9% reduction).”

Other Initiatives

“The Smith Campus is an arboretum, a living museum of woody plants, documented and labeled for  educational purposes. The MacLeish Field Station in Whately, Mass was dedicated in May 2008. The mission of the field station is to foster field-based education and research that promotes environmental study and experiential learning in a forested and agricultural landscape. This 200-acre site is a patchwork of protected forest and farmland located adjacent to the City of Northampton’s primary drinking water reservoir.”

What do Smithies think about Smith’s move toward becoming an energy-efficient campus?  What can be improved?  What’s already good?  Let us know!

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