It’s that time again. College students have settled into their dorms, started their classes, checked out some parties, and started cramming for the gnarliest pass-fail test of all time: saving the planet. Not all students are engaged in green endeavors, of course, but fast-growing numbers are — and the results have been eye-popping.

Students today join green frats, launch green business ventures, and host green bashes. At many U.S. colleges and universities, buildings are going efficient, cafeterias are serving local and organic fare, administrators are pledging to fight climate change, and some lucky students are even getting degrees from new programs focused wholly on sustainability and the environment.

Many students are crusading for the environment beyond their campuses as well. Since 2007, student- and youth-driven campaigns like Focus the Nation, Step It Up, and Power Shift have brought together more than a million people nationwide in demonstrations and other actions to stop climate change. This year, the Power Vote campaign aims to mobilize a million young voters who will prioritize climate change at the polls. Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 — some 68 percent of whom voted for Democrats in the 2008 primaries — could be a deciding force in choosing the next president.

In short, the college crowd deserves a special series, so we’re giving it to them. Dig in:

Tips, ideas, and resource

Profiles of green student activist