UConn Earns High Marks in Global Sustainable University Ratings

GreenMetric releases global higher education sustainability rankings for 2023

4 UConn students share recycling facts on posters outside a football stadium.

EcoCaptain interns and Office of Sustainability student volunteers educated UConn Football fans at a September 23, 2023 Green Game Day. Students also collected over 20 bins of recyclables from tailgating fans. (Photo by Amanda Stowe '26 CAHNR)

UConn was ranked as the 9th most sustainable university in the world by UI GreenMetric, an international sustainability scoring system that reviews over a thousand educational institutions.

GreenMetric ranks higher education institutions based on six categories: settings and infrastructure, energy and climate change, waste, water, transportation, and education and research. There are 1,050 universities from 85 countries that participate. It was founded in 2010 out of the University of Indonesia.

UConn also ranked as the second most sustainable university in the country, beat by only the University of California, Davis, which charted at number five globally. Worldwide, the most sustainable institutions are Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom, and Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld in Germany.

UConn has been listed as one of the 10 most sustainable universities almost every year since its first submission to GreenMetric in 2011. It dropped to 11th place in 2019 and 2020, then rejoined the top ten in 2021 and 2022. Data used in the assessment is collected by the UConn Office of Sustainability and relies heavily on undergraduate student interns reaching out to partners all across the university.

“Our performance exemplifies the culmination of our efforts and commitment toward sustainability. But more importantly, sustainability reporting sheds light on our immense potential for enacting positive change here at UConn,” says Claire Lee '24 (CLAS), a senior Office of Sustainability intern who helped compile the GreenMetric data. “I view it as a two-pronged process, where institutions are recognized for their strides in sustainability, and areas of improvement are highlighted through metrics for future takeaways.”

Patrick McKee, Senior Sustainability Program Manager for the Office of Sustainability guided the process. “Sustainability reporting tools like Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s  Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) and UI Green Metric are intended to shed light on the comprehensive efforts across the university to address sustainability in all of its facets.  The data collection process is a rigorous, but a valuable exercise to engage with individuals able to affect change at the university,” says McKee.  

“Not everyone realizes that elements of their job directly relate to the environmental, social, and economic pillars of sustainability. In addition, STARS and UI Green Metric provide an aspirational framework for improving our sustainability performance and highlight opportunities for improvement.  While our recognition as a global leader in campus sustainability is certainly worth celebrating, it comes with an added responsibility to close the gaps in areas where we have lagged behind other universities, particularly in transitioning toward renewable energy sources and mitigating our carbon footprint.  It’s important to reflect on the significant progress made at UConn over the years, especially for the sake of inspiring others to join in these efforts, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” says McKee.

The UConn Office of Sustainability is responsible for collecting and submitting sustainability metrics to various ranking and accreditation organizations (e.g. Bee Campus USA) as well as leading student engagement efforts throughout the year, like EcoMadness and Earth Day Spring Fling. Learn more about UConn’s hub for sustainability at the Office of Sustainability website.