Berea College Cited as Top Performer in Sustainability


Cover image for the AASHE Sustainable Campus IndexBerea College gained the No. 1 spot in the nation for Campus Engagement in the newly released 2019 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) reporting system. Berea, long-known for a strong commitment to sustainability, was recognized with a perfect score for campus engagement. Since 2017, Berea College has had a “gold” STARS rating.

The newly-released SCI report also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent calendar year. The institutions and initiatives featured in this year’s SCI showcase the great work higher education institutions are doing to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Berea College is a leader in “turning the blue grass state green,” achieving many sustainability “firsts.” Berea College had both the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in Kentucky (Lincoln Hall, the College’s administration building) and the first LEED-certified hotel (Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant). Berea’s campus also is home to several LEED-certified residence halls and the newly-built Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (MAC), which was awarded LEED gold certification and full-project certification by the Forest Stewardship Council. Berea College is also home of the first Ecovillage in the commonwealth.Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess and recognize buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance, LEED promotes environmentally- and socially-responsible construction and operation of green buildings in order to improve quality of life.

Facade of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building
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Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.