Rankings: Berkeley’s not only super, it’s the greenest Published: March 17, 2011 By: Dick Cortén Reputational Superbrands UC Berkeley is a member of a totally informal yet stratospherically exclusive club, an elite “supergroup” of six universities worldwide that are regarded head and shoulders above the rest of the throng. (The others are Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Stanford, and Oxford.) In a nutshell, that’s the conclusion of the Times Higher Education (nicknamed THE) World Reputational Rankings in its first such evaluation, based on an invitation-only survey of more than 13,000 academics around the world, who were asked to choose which universities were strongest for teaching and research in their own fields. When the resulting data were analyzed, it became apparent that the “elite six” of what THE termed “superbrands” were getting “many multiples of the responses that universities lower down the table received,” according to Simon Pratt, institutional research project manager at Thomson Reuters, THE’s ranking-data partner. While Harvard sits at the top of the entire table, California has three institutions in the top ten — more than the entire United Kingdom, as the London-based THE emphasized pointedly. Along with numbers four and five, Berkeley and Stanford, CalTech slid comfortably into the number ten slot. (Within the UC system, UCLA came in at 12th worldwide, UC San Diego at 30th, UCSF at 34th, UC Davis at 38th. UC Santa Barbara was reputationally ranked within an undifferentiated 51st-through-60th group. The opinions feeding into the rankings were collected in spring 2010. THE’s report on reputations in March 2011 was the first publication of that data. A wider-band report on the survey results was released last fall, and widely reported at the time, during what has become the annual fall rankings season. (See the October 2010 eGrad compendium, under “Academic Rankings.”) The reputational report reinforce the apparent dominant position of U.S. institutions, and, according to THE, “indicate that the UK’s and Japan’s universities have a strong global standing.” With five representatives in the reputation top 200, Japan’s third place puts it ahead of Canada and Australia. The Guardian‘s coverage of the new rankings UC Berkeley is Named the World’s Greenest University [This account by Tracey Taylor is from the excellent blog Berkeleyside, which is electronically filling a niche in the local journalistic ecosystem that widened as newspapers in the shrinking economy gave up their print editions or folded entirely.] UC Berkeley has emerged as the greenest campus in the world, according to a study conducted by the University of Indonesia (UI) published in the International Business Times. Cal’s 2010 Campus Sustainability report highlights some of the university’s green achievements. In 2009, campus greenhouse gas emissions were down by 4.5 percent — their lowest levels since 2005. Total campus water usage (not including residence halls) has dropped by almost 20 percent since 1990. And the promotion of tap water as part of the “I Heart Tap Water” campaign on campus has reduced bottled water sales by at least 25 percent. Finally, just four years after adopting the Campus Bicycle Plan, Cal has increased the number of bicycle commuters by almost 850, a 20 percent increase to 5,100 daily riders — perhaps one reason more bikers appear to be breaking campus cycling rules. The “UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities” for 2010 was based on information provided by universities around the world on their commitment towards going green and the development of sustainability initiatives. UI factored in the location, amount of green space, electrical consumption, waste management, as well as policies, actions, and communication related to sustainability. Only two other U.S. universities featured in the Green Metric Ranking Top 5: Northeastern and Cornell.