UC Irvine is sixth in Sierra magazine’s fifth annual ranking of the country’s “Coolest Schools.” The September/October cover feature spotlights colleges striving to address climate issues and operate sustainably – from UCI’s energy-efficiency standards to Stanford University’s commitment to open space to Vermont’s Green Mountain College deriving nearly half its power from, yes, cow manure. The complete list is available online.

“This is wonderful validation of the initiatives we’ve undertaken to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate other environmental impacts,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor of administrative & business services at UCI and chair of the University of California’s Climate Solutions Steering Group. “We maintained our top-10 status in what is becoming an increasingly competitive arena as campuses across the nation recognize their responsibility to the global environment.” UCI also placed sixth in Sierra’s 2010 ranking.

Sustainability projects at UCI include a cogeneration facility that meets about 85 percent of the campus’s energy needs. The university also pioneered a strategy to cut its lab emissions in half. In addition, UCI’s highly ranked schools – from physical and biological sciences to computer science and engineering and more – offer study programs aimed at tracking and reducing greenhouse gases and human impact on the planet.

“When students take what they’ve learned in the classroom and proceed to get their hands dirty in the real world, they realize the potential they have to make a difference,” said Bob Sipchen, Sierra’s editor in chief. “We’re thrilled to highlight these forward-thinking schools for emphasizing environmental responsibility and for teaching, inspiring and empowering students to effect real change.”

About Sierra magazine: Sierra is the official publication of the Sierra Club, America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1.4 million members and supporters nationwide. The Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and litigation. For more information, go to www.sierramagazine.com.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.