Sierra magazine has just released its third annual list of what it calls “the most eco-enlightened U.S. colleges.” It ranks schools based on the results of a questionnaire sent to sustainability experts at hundreds of institutions across the country. Scores were assigned in eight categories: efficiency, energy, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, and administration. The rankings come at a time when two-thirds of college applicants say a school’s green record would influence their enrollment decision, according to a Princeton Review survey [PDF].

Below we’ve got the dish on Sierra‘s top 20 picks. (Schools that also made the Princeton Review’s “Green Honor Roll” are asterisked.)

Don’t see your college or alma mater on the list?  Check out Sierra‘s full list of rankings for 135 colleges. And the College Sustainability Report Card evaluates the green cred of hundreds of U.S. and Canadian schools.

university of coloradoPhoto: jiannone1. University of Colorado, Boulder

Known for its outdoorsy student body and scenic location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, CU created the first student-directed recycling center in 1970, and in the decades since it’s made many other impressive green strides. The school provides plenty of alternative transportation for students to get around town or up to the ski slopes, all its new buildings must meet LEED Gold standards, and first-year students are provided with reusable shopping bags.