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UD Makes Sierra's Top 20 Coolest Schools List

For the second straight year, the University of Dayton is ranked in Sierra magazine's "Cool Schools" list. UD is the top-ranked school in the Midwest and ranks third among all U.S. Catholic colleges and universities. 

"I've been encouraged in my first year at UD by the frame of mind that pervades campus as it relates to sustainability as practice," said Ben McCall, executive director of the Hanley Sustainability Institute. "It's been heartening to see how faculty, staff and students continually bring ideas forth to improve how the University protects the environment. Of course, there is more we can do. But from what I've experienced so far, we are in a good place with our sustainability initiatives, and we'll only get better."

Participation in Sierra magazine's Cool Schools ranking is open to all two-year community colleges and four-year, degree-granting undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Sierra evaluated 282 schools using raw data from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), and a supplemental questionnaire about fossil fuel investments. Sierra then processed the STARS data through its custom-built formula and ranked schools according to Sierra's criteria based on Sierra Club priorities.

UD, the first Catholic university to divest from fossil fuels in 2014, ranked No. 19 on Sierra’s list. Click here for the full ranking of the 282 colleges and universities, including each school's questionnaire. Click here for the full methodology.

The University has a gold STARS rating; its score ranks in the top 3% of all rated schools, first in Ohio, and second among all U.S. Catholic colleges and universities. The University earned perfect or near perfect marks for academic research; diversity and affordability; sustainability coordination and planning; purchasing and public engagement; and innovation and leadership.

The AASHE 2019 Sustainable Campus Index lists the University of Dayton among the world's top performers in the categories of research and purchasing. UD is one of just three Ohio institutions listed as a top performer in any category.

UD also is one of the 399 most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation, according to The Princeton Review Guide to 399 Green Colleges. It is part of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment; "We're Still In," which supports climate action to meet the Paris Agreement; the Global Catholic Climate Movement; and the U.N. Global Compact — the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative.

This spring, the University of Dayton board of trustees approved bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in sustainability, which students can start this academic year. The majors add to the College's academic offerings in sustainability that currently include a minor in sustainability and a 12-credit-hour graduate certificate in sustainability. The School of Engineering also has a master's program in renewable and clean energy.

Many of the University's sustainability education initiatives received a boost in 2014 with a $12.5 million gift from the George and Amanda Hanley Foundation. The largest single gift in University history also established the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

Read more about the University of Dayton's sustainability initiatives in its complete STARS report.

For more information or interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or 


News and Communications Staff