Environmental program scores high in national March Madness competition

Just missing the big prize, RIT’s program still recognized for academic excellence

Follow Michelle Cometa on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

The score was so close, as some of the best competitions usually are.

The environmental sustainability, health and safety program made it through two competitive rounds during the March Madness-style tournament, intent on cutting down the net as the best environmental program in the country. During the Final 4, the team from Rochester Institute of Technology held its own, but watched underdog Colby College from Waterville, Maine, take the overall crown.

RIT’s environmental program was recognized, however, by tournament judges for its strong academic program and finished within 13 points of the winner (on a scale of 500 total points).

“We’ll try again next year. In looking at the submissions from the other schools it looks like we did really well in terms of program curricular elements, photos submitted, and testimonials from our students and graduates. Our students enjoyed being involved in the process,” says Josh Goldowitz, professor and undergraduate coordinator of the environmental sustainability, health and safety program in RIT’s College of Applied Science and technology.

Over the past several weeks, RIT was in contention with some of the top environmental programs in the country and made to the Environmental 8 before tipping off in the Final 4 bracket. The other colleges joining RIT in the Final 4 were Colby College, Colorado State University and Purdue University.

Similar to the celebrated national collegiate basketball tournament, the environmental program challenge crowned a winning university based on testimonials, videos and essays about the program submitted by students, faculty, staff and alumni. Each program is judged on average freshman retention rate, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate, hire rate post-graduation and diversity of courses offered. RIT took the court with a program where enrollment and applications are up, and the majority of its 2011 graduates are employed in positions within the industry.