UNC has been ranked 28th among over 200 participating universities in this year’s Sierra Club “Cool Schools” annual sustainability report. The university moved up 11 spots from last year’s 39th place ranking.

UNC was recognized with high scores in the categories of innovation, co-curricular activities and planning.

Chief sustainability officer at UNC Brad Ives said he is glad to see all of the university’s planning and hard work recognized on such a national scale.

“We’re really proud of the movement of going from 39th last year to 28th this year,” said Ives. “I think that reflects a lot of the good things that we’re doing around environmental issues this year at the university.”

Ives cites several initiatives as catalysts for this improvement, including the Real Food Challenge, which measures the percentage of fair, local and organic food in the schools cafeterias and Edible Campus, which has brought vegetable gardens to campus.

One of the ways that Ives hopes to continue on this improvement is through the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative, which is moving the campus toward water neutrality, zero waste to landfills and greenhouse gas neutrality.

While Ives acknowledges this is an extremely tall task, he said believes that tackling goals such as these is part of the university’s responsibility as the state’s flagship university.

“Our duty here is to try out new concepts and to advance learning and understanding,” said Ives. “So what we’re doing by having these big goals is creating a living learning laboratory here on campus where we can try out new technologies, refine them and make them work.”

The first Three Zeros Day, which will celebrate sustainability on campus, will take place on September 25. For more information on Three Zeros Day visit the Three Zeros Webpage.