Is the Ivory Tower built from sustainable materials? Increasingly, the answer is yes. College campuses, long regarded as bastions of left-leaning life, are becoming promoters of sustainable development. Oberlin College recently completed a comprehensive study of how to reduce pollution from its operations, the State University of New York at Buffalo spent $17 million to retrofit buildings with energy-efficient technology that will save it $9 million per year in utility bills, and Stanford University is spending $3.2 million on an entirely off-the-grid new building. Meanwhile, 275 universities worldwide have signed the Talloires Declaration, which commits its parties to incorporate sustainability and environmental literacy into teaching, research, operations, and outreach. That’s good news, because in many communities, universities are some of the biggest developers, always at work on a new dormitory, research facility, or alumni center.

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