UCSD ranked 7th greenest college by Sierra Club

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SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego was seventh in rankings of the sustainability efforts of colleges released Tuesday by the Sierra Club’s magazine.

UCSD was lauded by the magazine for efforts to conserve water during California’s drought.

“Since 2009, the campus has reduced its water use by more than 30 million gallons a year, and in the last year has recycled 400,000 gallons,” the authors wrote. “All new landscaping uses drought-tolerant plants. There are many eco-groups on campus, including Aquaholics Anonymous, which hosts water-saving competitions in the dorms.”

Another group, the EcoNauts, hand out reusable water bottles and lead campus “eco-tours,”  according to the Sierra Club. More than a third of the school’s vehicle fleet is electric, and 55 vehicles run on biofuel.

“Sustainability is part of our institutional DNA, imparted to us by UC San Diego’s early scientists like Roger Revelle, one of the university’s founders and a pioneer of climate change research,” Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said. “We have built upon their legacy to become a living laboratory of sustainable solutions that benefit our local and global communities.”

UCSD ranked 17th last year.

Schools earned points for including sustainability in student outreach, course work and faculty research; percentage of building space certified as sustainable, emissions recovery or offset programs, use of renewable energy sources, and purchases of locally produced food, among other things.

The University of San Diego, at No. 69, was the only other college in the region to make the 153-school list. UC Irvine was ranked first.