UofL was the only Kentucky school to make the Cool Schools list, which the Sierra Club compiled after inviting about 900 colleges and universities to complete an 11-page questionnaire on energy use and efficiency, waste management, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, administration and other areas of sustainability.

I was really excited to learn that UofL moved up in the ‘Cool Schools’ rankings in just one year, but, frankly, I’m not too surprised, said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives.

In my first year here at UofL, I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous progress we’ve been making in sustainability on all fronts. This improved ranking reflects our continued progress in areas such as local food sourcing, promoting transportation alternatives and living close to campus, expanding our academic offerings in sustainability and trying to get a handle on our greenhouse gas emissions. UofL is truly positioning itself as a green leader.

UofL earned 68 points out of a possible 100 points. Green Mountain College in Vermont earned the highest score of  88.6 points. No school earned a perfect score.

What we really need to do to continue moving up these rankings is to start investing in large-scale renewable energy projects, kick the bottled water habit, get even more UofL commuters out of their cars and continue increasing the percentage of local and organic foods in our dining facilities, Mog said.

It’s a collaborative effort, but this demonstrates that we’ve got some tremendous momentum built up around sustainability at UofL.

Last October, UofL tied with Berea College as Kentucky’s top green school when it earned a B+ on a report card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a nonprofit organization that monitors sustainability at colleges and universities.

UofL’s strategic plan calls for the university to measurably improve its sustainability profile by 2020.

(*Editor’s Note: The original Sierra Club rankings and press release had UofL at 56th. After this story was posted, Sierra Club changed the rankings, and UofL came in at 61st.)