Sonoma State Rated as Top “Green” Campus

Barbara Danelia with mini binOne person’s trash became another’s treasure as the campus increased its recyclable office waste by almost 100 tons by turning the handling of office garbage on its head. The answer came in the shape of a 5 1/2-inch tall black plastic mini-bin, held above by staff member Barbara Danelia. The mini-bin is the depository of garbage, such as food wastes, in campus offices. Recyclable material such as paper and plastic bottles are routed into large blue trash cans at desks. Final destination is the campus recycling center. Photo by Jean Wasp.

From mini-bins to solar arrays to student greenhouse gas research, Sonoma State University was making moves over the years toward a more sustainable campus when it finally became obvious.

The campus earned a major “green” rating in a new category developed this year by the Princeton Review in its annual 2009 Best 368 Colleges issue. Rising interest among students in attending schools that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices is being noticed by educators across the country.

“The green movement on college campuses is far more than an Earth Day recycling project or a dining hall menu of organic food,” says Robert Franek, Vice President and Publisher at the Princeton Review. “The commitment that many colleges and their student bodies have made to environmental issues — indeed, to the environment — in their practices, use of resources, and academic and research programs is truly compelling. It is the students of today who will face and hopefully find solutions for the enormous environmental challenges confronting our planet’s future.”

Sonoma State’s efforts toward sustainability include a public commitment in its strategic plan and myriad opportunities for students to participate in sustainability research as part of the Green Campus Pilot Program. It also has a highly-regarded Environmental Studies and Planning program and employs a dedicated full-time sustainability officer.

A pioneer in the development of sustainable building projects – both retrofitted and new construction — the Rohnert Park campus is a leader in the California State University system. Campus architects and engineers now regularly develop new projects according to a LEED silver standard.

For complete information about SSU and its sustainability initiatives, go to