Knox Gets Chosen as One of Sierra Club's 'Coolest Schools'

Sierra magazine recognizes sustainability goals and achievements

August 25, 2011

Knox students in the Community GardenThe Sierra Club has identified Knox College as one of "America's Coolest Schools," ranking it as No. 65 among the greenest colleges in the United States.

The 2011 "Cool Schools" list is published in the September/October issue of Sierra magazine. It recognizes four-year colleges and universities for their environmental sustainability goals and achievements in 10 categories, including academics, energy efficiency, and waste management.

Knox College has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by working steadily to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and build a stronger culture of environmental responsibility.

Examples of sustainability initiatives on the Knox campus include:Red wiggler worm in compost

  • A new program to convert food waste into compost. Starting in fall term 2011, leftover food from the Hard Knox Café and other Knox dining facilities will be collected and placed in a food-dehydrating machine. The resulting biomass will be placed in a vermiculture bin, where red wiggler worms will consume the material and eventually transform it into compost. (Photo at right: A student displays some of Knox's vermiculture compost.) The program will transform an estimated 60,000 pounds of food waste that otherwise would go into a landfill.
  • The Taylor Student Lounge and Game Room, which was renovated in 2011 with energy-efficient materials. Carpets and ceiling tiles were recycled for use elsewhere on campus.
  • The Knox Community Garden, where students and faculty use organic methods to grow flowers and produce. (Photo at top of page: Students working in the Community Garden.)
  • The replacement of single-use, disposable food containers with "clamshells" -- re-usable takeout boxes -- for the cafeteria and Oak Room. As a result, about 120,000 fewer single-use containers wind up in landfills each year.

Students in Green Oaks TermIn addition, Knox College owns and operates the Green Oaks Biological Field Station, a research and recreation area about 20 miles east of campus, where any member of the Knox community may fish, hike, and camp.

Students use the site for various kinds of learning opportunities, including the 10-week Green Oaks Term. During Green Oaks Term, Knox students live on the property and become immersed in an interdisciplinary curriculum taught by Knox faculty from three different departments.

(Photo at left: Green Oaks Term students meeting for a class taught by biology Professor Stuart Allison, standing at left in blue shirt. He also is director of the Green Oaks Biological Field Station.)