It’s college season out there! All across the country, hopeful high school seniors are receiving letters (hopefully fat ones!) from colleges and universities letting them know if they’ve been admitted to the class of 2016. Meanwhile, younger high school students are heading out on scouting trips to decide which colleges they want to apply to.
There are lots of criteria to consider – size of the student body, academic reputation, location, tuition costs – and now, there is one more: social consciousness. This year, Best Colleges Online compiled a list of the top 20 socially conscious colleges in the country. Their top picks included schools that “facilitate this desire to do right by the world” and offer “socially responsible opportunities including amazing volunteer projects, classes about ethical practices, green initiatives, political activism” and more.
Repair the World was proud to see that two of the colleges we partner with – UC Berkeley and University of Washington – made the cut. Check out the Top 10 socially conscious colleges below, and view the rest of the list here.
- University of California, Berkeley: A bastion of campus activism since the 1920s when faculty fought for immigrant rights. That spirit of social consciousness continues today with students standing up for free speech, as well as gender, racial and LGBTQ equality.
- Mills College (California): This college offers an MBA focusing on socially responsible business practices.
- University of Montana: UM students stood up for workers’ rights in 2008, convincing their administration to break a contract with Russell Athletics, which exploited Honduran sweatshop workers.
- College of the Atlantic (Maine): This green-minded college was the country’s first carbon neutral institute of higher learning.
- University of California, Riverside: More than half of this college’s population participates in community service projects, donating more than 2.5 million volunteer hours a year. In 2010 they earned the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award.
- Hampshire College (Massachusetts) Many of the classes in this college’s “anti-oppression curriculum” focus on activist education, civil liberties, public policy, population and development, and community partnerships.
- University of California, Davis: This college, known for its agricultural school, is now also known as a bastion of the Occupy Colleges movement.
- Columbia University (New York City): This ivy league school has a long history of social and political activism from the Civil Rights era through today.
- Evergreen State University (Washington): Students at Evergreen can choose from a number of courses that focus on social justice. It’s also one of the nation’s leading eco-friendly campuses.
- Oberlin College and Conservatory (Ohio): This liberal arts school is often named among the most progressive campuses in America. It all started back in 1858 when students helped to free an African American slave and smuggle him up to Canada. The school celebrates this heroic act every year, and continues to live up to that legacy.
Congratulations to the 20 schools that made the list! Is your college also socially conscious? Tell us about it by tweeting @repairtheworld.