Introducing the Sustainable 16: America’s Top Environmental Studies Programs

This morning Enviance, in partnership with GreenBiz Group and Qualtrics, introduced the “Sustainable 16,” the country’s top undergraduate environmental studies programs as determined by an expert panel of judges in the Second Annual Environmental March Madness (#EnviroU) tournament.

The panel of judges — comprised of an education author and expert, as well as representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Walmart, Forbes, Norfolk Southern and Enviance —­ chose the “Sustainable 16” schools from a competitive group of institutions that showed commitment to the environment through both their environmental studies programs and on-campus initiatives.

The contenders are, in alphabetical order:

  • Arizona State University
  • Colorado State University
  • Emory University
  • George Mason University
  • Michigan State University
  • Middlebury College
  • Montana State University
  • Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • University of Florida
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

These 16 schools will now battle to move up into the Environmental Eight, then the Finest Four and finally, one deserving school with then be named National Champion, announced on April 8. To move on in the tournament, faculty and students must submit essays, photos and videos highlighting their best environmental “plays” between today and March 8.

It’s still too early to tell just how closely our tournament matches up with the men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament, but comparing it to bracketology expert Jerry Palm’s predictions on his Bracketology
, our tournament will also have underdogs, returning top schools and of course plenty of school spirit.

The National Champion takes home $5,000 for its environmental and sustainability department, and is awarded an all-expenses-paid trip for its department chair or faculty member to San Diego to attend the Enviance User Conference, April 22-26. While there, the winner will lead a panel on educating future environmental professionals.

Check back on March 22 to find out who made it to the next round!