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Ohio State Wins Environmental March Madness National Championship

The Ohio State University is this year’s Environmental March Madness national champion.

The school beat out Colorado State University, George Mason University and University of Washington in last week’s “Finest Four” round of the tournament to win the 2013 title.

In announcing the winning university, Lawrence Goldenhersh, CEO and president of Enviance, which sponsors the annual contest, noted Ohio State’s environmental and sustainability programs like its zero waste initiative at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State says its stadium is the largest in the country to achieve zero waste, diverting 90 percent or more of materials from the landfill by recycling and composting.

According to tournament judges, part of Ohio State’s environmental curriculum success was based on the holistic design of its Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability program, which cuts horizontally across the complete portfolio of courses and is the fastest growing major on campus. The university bundled about 150 courses to create the EEDS major, which has four specialization options: sustainability in business, environmental economics and policy analysis, community development, and international development. All students in the major take two courses in each of the four specialization areas, and then choose electives aligned with their specialization.

Enviance says it designed the Environmental March Madness tournament to evaluate colleges and universities throughout the country on their environmental degree programs and curriculum, environmental opportunities for students, and campus sustainability efforts. Each school initially completed a survey, which was the basis of judging for the “Sustainable 16.” Those 16 schools were then given the chance to submit essays, photos and videos to the judges, for further consideration to be included in the “Environmental Eight.” The judges then evaluated all materials submitted throughout the tournament to determine the “Finest Four,” and ultimately today’s national champion.

As winner of this year’s tournament, the EEDS program at Ohio State will receive an award of $5,000, and EEDS program director Neil Drobny, PhD, who is also a lecturer in sustainable business practices at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State, will attend and speak at the Enviance User Conference in San Diego, April 22-26.

Last year’s Environmental March Madness national champion Colby College yesterday announced it has achieved carbon neutrality, two years before its target date.

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