GW Embarrassment

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

George Washington University (GW) Hatchet writers are “embarrassed” that their school didn’t make it into the Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges due to a miscommunication.

“Over the last two years, the University has increasingly emphasized its desire to be a sustainable college, but because GW failed to fill out a survey provided by the Princeton Review, GW was not recognized on the list of most sustainable colleges,” states the May 10 GW Hatchet staff editorial. “This absence is an embarrassment for GW, and is also an indicator of the need for an increased role for the Office of Sustainability.”

(The GW Hatchet is an independently-run student paper.)

As previously mentioned, the Princeton Review guide to which the Hatchet authors refer indicated that 37 colleges and universities have an “environmental literacy requirement” for all of their students (emphasis added).  According to Iona College Environmental Concerns Committee Chair, Dr. Frederica Rudell, “It’s not only about greening the campus, but the greening of the student mind.” Iona College is among these 37.

“As it stands, the Office of Sustainability has three employees, according to the office’s website,” the GW Hatchet editorial continues. “Created in the fall of 2008, the office is tasked with implementing the suggestions of the Task Force on Sustainability while working to create a climate neutrality plan.”

Hatchet staff writer Michelle Brown reported on May 10 that

“…GW received an incomplete rating of 60* in the green or sustainability guide. The guide states that a 60* rating is given to “colleges that do not supply answers to a sufficient number of questions for us to fairly tally a rating for them in any category.’

Sophie Waskow, stakeholder engagement coordinator for GW’s Office of Sustainability, said her office has no record of receiving a green survey from the Princeton Review.

‘Since GW’s Office of Sustainability did not exist for much of that time, we have no record (and have been unable to find any elsewhere in GW) of being asked to provide data to Princeton Review for the 08-09 academic year,’ Waskow said in an e-mail.

The guide is based on data from the 2008-2009 academic year, the same year the Office of Sustainability was launched….”

At least one student group there wouldn’t mind incorporating sustainability into the curriculum.

The GW-based Net Impact has a “VP of Curriculum Change” on its board who “Advocates for curriculum review to enhance the incorporation of social and environmental sustainability issues into GW courses” and “works alongside faculty and students to oversee the Certificate in Responsible Management,” according to the GW website.

National Impact is “an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world,” according to its website, and has D.C. chapters at American University, the George Washington University School of Business, Georgetown University, Georgetown’s School of Business, and Johns Hopkins University.

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.