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SDSU named by Sierra to Cool Schools list

solar panels on the American Indian Student Center
South Dakota State University was listed on the Sierra magazine Cool Schools ranking. The ranking is based on STARS reports. Part of SDSU's Silver STARS ranking is due to adding solar panels, such as these on the American Indian Student Center.

South Dakota State University was one of a record 312 schools ranked in Sierra magazine's 14th annual Cool Schools ranking. SDSU was 196th.

The ranking was open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, along with two-year community colleges. This year’s scores were based on the STARS reports created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. SDSU earned a silver STARS rating in February 2020.

“South Dakota State University has a lot to model for schools everywhere. We at the Sierra Club have been continually impressed with this university’s commitment to teaching and embodying excellent environmental stewardship in all areas,” said Katie O’Reilly, Sierra’s adventure and lifestyle editor. “The Jackrabbits are standouts in this increasingly important space.”

Sierra researchers scored each response and ranked each of the participating institutions. Beginning in 2018, Sierra has based rankings on institutions’ existing STARS scores. Any valid STARS reports from the last three years were eligible.

“It is wonderful to be included on Sierra's 2020 Cool Schools list and to have SDSU’s efforts recognized by a leading environmental organization,” said Jennifer McLaughlin, SDSU’s sustainability specialist.

To participate in the 2020 rankings, educational institutions needed to: 

  1. Have a valid STARS 2.1 or 2.2 rating (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum; unscored reports with a STARS Reporter designation were not sufficient);
  2. Have earned that rating within the three years prior to the deadline (submitted after March 7, 2017). STARS ratings that were more than three years old were not considered for the Cool Schools ranking; and
  3. Opt in to sharing data with Sierra.