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Campus Progress: Awards and Ratings

UC Davis #1 Cool School Sierra Magazine

Sierra magazine ranked UC Davis the "Coolest School" in 2012 for our sustainability and climate change efforts. Read more about our ranking and view a video that Sierra made about UC Davis.

UC Davis' commitment to the environment and sustainability is reflected in a number of national rankings that put us in the top group of green universities. Here are some recent recognitions:

Sierra Magazine video postcard

Sierra Magazine video postcard

Flash video (1:49)

Produced by Sierra magazine

Ranked 1st in Sierra magazine's 2012 Cool Schools survey

UC Davis was ranked 1st in the 2012 Cool Schools survey, run by Sierra magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club. The first University of California campus to win the title of "Coolest School," UC Davis was singled out for a breadth of sustainability accomplishments, from sustainable transportation, to waste reduction and diversion efforts, to green purchasing practices, among many others.

Complete rankings are available from Sierra magazine. The campus was ranked 8th in 2011, 16th in 2010 and 24th in 2009. In this sixth annual survey, the methodology was changed to utilize selected (by Sierra) data provided through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), in addition to supplemental data questions requested by Sierra magazine.

Sierra magazine also created a "video postcard" about why UC Davis was selected to be the "Coolest School."

Here is a preview of UC Davis' scores:

Categories and scores:

Ranked 11th in the GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities 2011

UC Davis was ranked 11th in the world by the University of Indonesia GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities. The GreenMetric survey strives to create a world-wide sustainability ranking across the developing and developed world.

A- on the College Sustainability Report Card 2011

UC Davis has earned an A- on the College Sustainability Report 2011 by Greenreportcard.org. The organization, which describes itself as the "first interactive website to provide in-depth sustainability profiles for hundreds of colleges in all 50 U.S. states and in Canada," also recognized UC Davis as an "Overall College Sustainability Leader." In 2010, UC Davis also earned an A-. 

Of particular importance to this group is the focus on investment policies for university endowments and investments that can affect sustainability. Here are the facts behind UC Davis' high grades this year:

Designated a gold-level 'Bicycle Friendly University'

In 2011, UC Davis became one of the first-ever designated "Bicycle Friendly Universities" by the League of American Bicyclists. 

The campus was one of only two to be honored with a gold-level designation, of the 20 campuses to receive recognition. UC Santa Barbara was also recognized on the gold level, and Stanford University was recognized with platinum.

UC Davis was highlighted specifically by the organization for its "great bicycling facilities." Campus bicycle programs and facilities include Bike Barn, goClub incentives and support for bicyclists (goBike), the TAPS Bicycle Program and others. The campus and community provide an extensive network of bike lanes, off-street bike paths and bicycle underpasses for riders.

In the 2009-2010 Campus Travel Survey, 39 percent of UC Davis commuters reported biking on an average day, while 47 percent reported biking as their primary means at least once during the week.

Colleges and universities that applied for this designation were judged in five categories: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning

In 2005, the community of Davis was the first to be recognized as a platinum-level "Bicycle Friendly Community" by the League of American Bicyclists.

Find out more about campus progress toward transportation goals and commuting options.

Fleet ranked 3rd 'greenest' in North America

UC Davis has been ranked 3rd in the 2011 “Government Green Fleet Awards” by the 100 Best Fleets program, which recognizes high performing fleets in North America.

In 2010, UC Davis was ranked 4th, and was the only college or university fleet to be included in the top 20. In 2009, UC Davis was ranked 11th.


More than 650 vehicles in the UC Davis fleet are powered by electric, hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas, biodiesel or flexible-fuel engines. Find out more about the UC Davis fleet and sustainability.

Criteria for the Government Green Fleet Award rankings were:

Among Greenopia's top 10 campuses nationally

UC Davis is among the top 10 universities nationally as judged by Greenopia, an organization dedicated to providing consumers with high-quality information to help them reduce their impact on the environment through daily purchasing decisions. In 2010, UC Davis earned the organization's highest rating with four out of four leaves. UC Davis scored in the top 25 percent for each of these criteria:

Most prolific in environmental sciences

UC Davis was ranked first nationally in “U.S. Institutions: Most Prolific in Environment/Ecology, 2005-2009.” 

The ranking, published online in 2010, is from ScienceWatch of Thomson Reuters, which looks at the number of papers published in academic journals over a five-year period.

In the field of environment/ecology from 2005 to 2009, the top five universities are:

  1. UC Davis
  2. UC Berkeley
  3. University of Florida
  4. Oregon State University
  5. Colorado State University

Named one of 10 best colleges for environmental studies

In the 2011 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, UC Davis was listed as one of the top 10 environmental studies undergraduate degree programs. This listing was noted by the Daily Green blog and Mother Nature News.

UC Davis was described as a "research-driven campus ... renowned for its innovations in the environmental, agricultural and biological sciences" as well as sustainable transportation and alternative energy.

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