Colorado State University, George Mason University, Ohio State University and University of Washington have advanced to the “Finest Four” round of the second annual Environmental March Madness tournament.
In a format similar to the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, these schools have survived two elimination rounds, the “Sustainable 16” and last week’s “Environmental Eight,” impressing judged with their environmental academics and sustainability practices. One of the four will be named national champion on April 9.
According to the judges, all four schools offer local food in their cafeterias and run on-campus gardening or farming programs. All have composting programs and established efforts for solid waste recycling and water recycling or conservation in place. Additionally, each of the four maintains a fleet of electric vehicles and two provide a bike share program. The majority of finalists have solar thermal and/or solar panel installations as well as biomass energy facilities on campus and purchase renewable energy from local utilities, the judges say.
In last year’s tournament, which was co-sponsored by Environmental Leader, Colorado State made the Finest Four before losing the national champion title to Colby College, a school of 1,800 students in Waterville, Maine.
Environmental software provider Enviance, in partnership with GreenBiz Group and Qualtrics, sponsor the 2013 Environmental March Madness tournament. Tournament prizes include a $5,000 grant for the winning school as well as one all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego for a faculty member to attend and speak at the Enviance User Conference later this month.
University of Washington ranked No. 4 in the Sierra Club’s most recent “green” college’s list. More than half of the school’s food is produced within 250 miles of campus, according to the Sierra Club, which gave the school high scores for its renewable energy use and seven bicycle-repair stations around campus in the 2012 list.