Archive for the ‘College Ranking & Lists’ Category

10 of the Greenest Colleges in America


Of course it makes sense that institutions of higher learning are developing new and better ways of protecting the planet. All that brain power really does do some good, no? Today, colleges and universities have gone past simple recycling to starting organic gardens, developing solar panels, and even creating “living machines.” Here are ten colleges whose commitment to going green has blown us out of the water.

1. College of the Atlantic

In Bar Harbor, Maine, this small school has one focus: human ecology, defined as the study of our species’ relationship to the planet. In 2007, COA was the first US college to go carbon neutral. The campus is also committed to green building, historic preservation, land conservation, and elimination of toxins.

2. Warren Wilson College

This nearly self-supporting school exists in Swannanoa, North Carolina. What makes this college special? All food and lumber are sourced from its own organic gardens and managed forests (even the chainsaws use soy oil!). All vehicles run on biodiesel or are hybrid or solar-charged. The streetlamps are solar-powered as well, with low light pollution. Students also give old items new life at the “free store.”

3. The Evergreen State College

This 1,000-acre campus (including 800 acres of woods, forest, and saltwater beach) can be found in Olympia, Washington.  Students get down and dirty with organic farming, conservation, ecology, and much more. Evergreen also buys 100% clean power, is trying out electric vehicles, and has a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified seminar building.

4. Oberlin College

This progressive college, home of green design master David Orr, has a web-based system that monitors energy and water used in dorms. It boasts the state of Ohio’s largest solar array, and perhaps the coolest thing is its model “living machine.” What’s a “living machine,” you ask? It’s a system designed to process waste water through a plant- and bacteria-based filtration system. Neat, huh?

5. Middlebury College

This Vermont college pushes carbon neutrality, hosts popular energy-saving competitions in the dorms, and has a sculpture made from locally harvested saplings. When they needed to rebuild an old structure, it was carefully torn down so the parts could be used again in green “reconstruction.”

6. Berea College

A five-acre residential complex of houses makes up this college’s Ecovillage, which has the goals of 75% reduction in energy and water use, and a 50% reduction in solid waste. These houses contain eco-friendly appliances, heavy insulation, solar panels, wind-power, rainwater collectors, a living machine, and more!

7. University of California

With high goals, including generating 10 megawatts of renewable energy by 2014 and achieving zero waste and carbon neutrality by 2020, this state school system is to be admired. UCLA has already increased bicycle use by 50%, and UC-Berkeley has won attention for hosting the first certified organic kitchen in a college setting.

8. Harvard University

Harvard has been installing motion sensors and other energy efficiency devices, their school buildings have achieved up to 73% reductions in waste, and their commitment to using recycled paper  is astounding. School trucks have also been converted to run on spare vegetable oil from dining facilities…no waste here!

9. Duke University

This university in Durham, North Carolina, now requires all future construction to be certified by the US Green Building Council. The campus features the SmartHouse dormitory, a LEED platinum building.

10. California State University – Chico

This university was awarded the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Chill Out contest award for their certified green building, installing energy-saving software, solar panels, and other initiatives.


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5 Friend-Making Items to Bring to Your Dorm Room

This summer, as you pack your boxes and bags full of DVDs, fluffy bathroom towels, and extra long twin sheets, consider taking items that are likely to spawn new friendships with others in your residence hall. While making new friends in college won’t be as hard as you think, it couldn’t hurt to have a couple of gadgets on hand to get the ball rolling. Not sure which of your possessions would work? Check out our list of these great friend-making items you can bring to your dorm!

Gaming Systems

As if you were going to leave that behind! Having a gaming system in your room may seem like an anti-social move, but with the number of people who play video games today, and with some of the best video games coming out every fall, you are likely to find many people who will want to talk about games, play multi-player games alongside you, and start floor-wide tournaments.

Outdoor Games

With the first weeks of college still feeling like summer, now is the time to bring your frisbees, soccer balls, and Kan Jam! It won’t be uncommon for you to walk outside by yourself with a ball, and an hour later, have entire teams playing kickball, all of whom you have just met! Inviting others to partake in outdoor activities is a quick way to learn a few names, and as the person who owns this equipment, you can expect to be who others go to when they’re looking for some fun on a Sunday afternoon.

A Movie Collection

If you have a wide DVD collection, a Netflix or Hulu subscription, or the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows downloaded from iTunes, you can expect to be pretty popular around the residence hall. By turning one night a week into a theatrical event, with everyone taking turns bringing the popcorn and the pizza, you will find yourself in the company of quite a few new friends.

Appealing Dorm Room Decor

Your room is far more likely to draw others in if there’s bamboo on the windowsill, neon lights aglow around your desk, and a comfy carpet on the floor, as opposed to a room with no personality at all. A really awesome looking room will cause people walking down the hall to stop and peek in. It will be the place where your friends want to hang out. Make your room as interesting and fun as you can, while still obeying all of your residence hall rules and regulations of course!


Another way to make your dorm room more enticing to others is if you have something for others to tinker with while they’re there. I mean, we’re all really kids at heart, right? Someone who had originally come by to get the notes for a class they missed could find themselves sticking around for an hour because they were playing with the magnetic poetry on your fridge! Litter your room with these kinds of fun, addictive toys!

10 Best Undergrad Colleges for Budding Writers

Do you write a weekly column for your school newspaper? Do you look forward to a little time alone so you can just put pen to paper and get your ideas out? Do you find yourself jotting down real life moments or things people say so that you can use it in a future story? Well, then you might just be an aspiring writer. And if you are, the only way to become a better writer is to write. And write. And write. And write. And write–especially in an environment where you’re encouraged to do your best work and get the feedback you need from your peers and mentors.

Such places do exist. It’s just about finding them. And whether you’re in college now or heading there in the fall, your college may just have a great creative writing undergraduate program. While some colleges have separate creative writing majors, others may have creative writing concentrations within their English major. Finding the write right undergraduate creative writing program for you is all about researching the professors and instructors who teach the classes, being familiar with their work or teaching style, and understanding what kind of work you’ll be doing. Will you be able to concentrate on what you want to spend the most time on, whether that be poetry, fiction, non-fiction, playwriting, etc.?

Whatever it is you want to pursue, here are 10 colleges, that, according to are the 10 best colleges for creative undergraduate writers:

1. Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
Notable alum: Pulitzer Prize winning writer C. Vann Woodward, author of The Strange Career of Jim Crow.

2. Hamilton College 
Location: Clinton, New York
Notable alumni: Poet Ezra Pound; novelists Terry Brooks, Kamila Shamsie, and Peter Cameron; playwright Richard Nelson; actor and writer for The Office Paul Lieberstein; and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Descendants, Nat Faxon.

3. Johns Hopkins University
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Notable alumni: Feminist author Gertrude Stein, novelist Porochista Khakpour, poet Michael Dumanis, and film director Wes Craven.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Notable alumni: Author of Dr. Dolittle series Hugh Lofting and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

5. New York University
Location: New York, New York
Notable alumni: Founder of MAD magazine William Gaines, Danielle Steel,Joseph Heller, and J.D. Salinger.

6. Washington University in St. Louis
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Notable alumni: Harold Ramis, and playwrights  Edward Shepherd Mead and Tennessee Williams.

7. University of Iowa
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Notable alumni: David Morrell, author, famous for creating the character of John Rambo and Robie Macauley, novelist and editor of Playboy.

8. Columbia
Location: New York, New York
Notable alumni: Upton Sinclair and Hunter S. Thompson.

9. University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Notable alumni: Famous playwright Arthur Miller, author Susan Orlean, Cathy Guisewite author, creator of Cathy comic strip.

10. Colorado College
Location: Colorado Spring, Colorado
Notable alum: Timothy J. Sexton and executive producer and writer for the TV shows ER and Law &  Order SVU Neal Baer.

Make your profile today at to find your college matches and scholarships to pay for them!