Sustainability efforts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are being noticed from a distance of more than 10,000 miles.

UL-Lafayette is 195th on the 2018 University of Indonesia’s GreenMetric Rankings released recently and is No. 25 in the United States.

Eco-friendly practices and overall campus environment were considered at 719 universities from 81 countries for UI’s GreenMetric list. It relies on data collected via online questionnaires submitted by each university. The system is the only one in the world that measures green efforts at universities, according to a press release from the University of Indonesia.

The GreenMetric list is based on factors such as recycling, efficient use of electricity, renewable energy sources and amount of open space, forest and vegetation on campus.

Gretchen Lacombe Vanicor, director of the university's office of sustainability, said its commitment to sustainability stretches beyond “enacting programs to reduce waste on campus or planting trees or using environmentally-sound construction practices.”

“Eco-friendly practices and programs benefit the campus and community but also offer opportunities for education and research,” she said.

The University’s $5 million Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing Laboratory provides students with training related to alternative energy that reduces fossil-fueled energy consumption and offsets air emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and greenhouse gases.

Vanicor cited The University’s “zero-waste” program as an opportunity for students to earn service hours. Bins placed at Cajun Field during football games give fans the option of having their game day trash composted or recycled. 

UL-Lafayette has enacted other programs in recent years, she added, that has earned recognition: 

  • The U.S. Department of Education selected the university as one of only 11 postsecondary Green Ribbon Schools in the nation and the only one in Louisiana. The designation acknowledges “leadership in reducing environmental impact, improving health, and teaching environmental education.”
  • The National Wildlife Federation praised Cypress Lake for its role in protecting wildlife and providing a learning environment for students. The managed wetland on campus is home to alligators, several species of turtles and fish along with hawks, herons and other birds.
  • The university earned its ninth consecutive Tree Campus USA title last year from the Arbor Day Foundation. The campus has more than 2,000 trees and large shrubs. A rare Montezuma bald cypress that’s one of the largest in the state is listed on the Louisiana Forestry Association’s Directory of Champions.
  • The Student Union was recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program for environmentally sound building practices and recycling efforts during its expansion and renovation. 

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