March Madness update: RIT makes the cut for Environmental Final 4

Environmental management and safety program close to slam dunk for top prize

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RIT advanced to the next bracket of the March Madness tournament, the Final 4—getting closer to netting the big prize in the March Madness-style competition for the best environmental management program in the U.S.

RIT’s selection spotlights the Environmental Sustainability, Health and Safety undergraduate program in its College of Applied Science and Technology. The program is in the running to be named “National Champion” among an elite group of U.S. colleges and universities who exemplify excellence in environmental academics.

The other colleges joining RIT in the Final 4 are Colby College, Colorado State University, and Purdue University. (Earlier in the week, the Environmental 8—the competition’s semi-final round—included the latter universities as well as University of California–Davis, and University of Texas at Arlington.)

Similar to the celebrated national collegiate basketball tournament, the environmental program challenge will crown a winning university April 2. To get to the Final 4, students, faculty, staff and alumni submitted testimonials, videos and essays about the program. They will be used to determine the overall champion.

Each program is judged on average freshman retention rate, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate, hire rate post-graduation and diversity of courses offered. According to Josh Goldowitz, professor of environmental sustainability, health and safety, program enrollment and applications are up, and the majority of its 2011 graduates are employed in positions within the industry.

Note: The tournament will award $5,000 to the environmental and sustainability department of the national champion and send the department chair or member of the faculty to San Diego to attend the Enviance User Conference, April 16-20. While there, the winner will lead a panel, “What Tomorrow’s Environmental Leaders Need to Know.” The judges for this year’s tournament include: Lawrence Goldenhersh, chief executive officer and president of Enviance; Peter Fox, principal and chairman of The Brattle Group; Velislava Ivanova , director of global sustainability at CH2M HILL Inc.; Nick Johnson, managing consultant at Trinity Consultants; and Don Cuffel, manager of environmental engineering at Valero.