The University of Miami tops the list in several categories of The Princeton Review’s 2009 edition of The Best 368 Colleges.
This year, UM was ranked sixth in the nation for its Diverse Student Population, 16th for Lots of Race/Class Interaction and 18th for Best Athletic Facilities.
Each year, The Princeton Review collects 120,000 student surveys from their chosen top colleges across the nation. Students are asked to rate their colleges from “excellent” to “awful” in categories such as academics, politics, quality of life and athletics. The Princeton Review then develops 62 lists, ranking the top 20 schools in each category.
Jeanne Kier, publicity director for The Princeton Review books, said the surveys give the most accurate reflection of all aspects of student life.
“Students, who are the customers, are the real experts on a school,” she said. The students’ input is essential for others who are looking for their “best fit” school, Krier added.
Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, said it is no surprise UM’s athletic facilities were ranked high. From the IM fields, to the pool and recreation areas and the Wellness Center – which is expanding this year – students have a wide array of facilities at their disposal, she said.
“We have the most awesome athletic facilities,” senior Meredith Barnard said. “I love going to the Wellness Center; they have well-trained staff and it is very well-equipped.”
Whitely also believes the school’s ranking in diversity is an accurate reflection.
“We are extremely diverse,” she said. “[We] have students from 110 different countries, from many different walks of life. Very few colleges have such an international flavor.”
“The fact that we have a lot of clubs from different backgrounds shows a lot,” said senior Joumana Solh, who says she has friends of many different races and ethnicities. She added that UM’s wide range of extracurricular activities helps to increase diverse, social interaction.
The Princeton Review teamed up with eco-America, a non-profit environmental marketing association, to also develop a new “Green Rating” system. Five-hundred and thirty-four colleges were assessed and given a score from a scale of 60 to 99, based on their overall environmental awareness and responsibility. UM scored an 86 on this scale.
Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Ken Capezzuto said, the rating shows that the school’s GreenU program has come a long way since its inception in 2005.
All new buildings are now required to be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to increase energy and water efficiency. Also, half of the university’s shuttle fleet has switched to biodiesel fuel.
Some students have noticed university’s efforts to promote environmental awareness, but believe the school can do more.
“Environmental issues are growing in popularity everywhere,” Barnard said. “The campus has become more environmentally aware, but I still think we have a long way to go.”
Capezzuto said he expects the university’s green rating to be higher in the future, as many new programs – such as UBike and Zipcar – are underway. He said the GreenU task force is also working on creating a comprehensive recycling program.
“The idea is to create practices that you will not only follow while you are here, but [practices] that you can take home with you,” Capezzuto said. “Awareness is the key.”
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