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More brackets: Two California schools in “Sustainable 16” eco-education competition

University of California

With a large percentage of the American population already knee-deep in brackets for this year’s edition of the NCAA basketball playoffs known as March Madness, there’s a very different kind of collegiate showdown also heating up.

In the spirit of the “Sweet 16,” the “Sustainable 16” is a group of colleges and universities that “exemplify excellence in environmental academics,” and was selected through a nationwide survey competition. As reported by Environmental Leader (who is co-sponsoring the competition with Enviance, producers of environmental ERP software), surveys from three dozen potential schools were narrowed down to the “Sustainable 16” by a panel including Lawrence Goldenhersh, the president and CEO of Enviance. Among the 16 schools are two from California: University of California, Davis, and Humboldt State University.

"These are the institutions that will prepare the next generation of environmental professionals to lead environmental compliance, sustainability and social responsibility programs for some of the world's largest companies,” Goldenhersh said in a press release. “We're excited about the quality of the schools involved in the contest and can't wait to evaluate the programs further to identify a national champion."

First, schools have to advance to the “Environmental Eight,” with another submission (essay, video or social media) supporting their case to ultimately be named national champions. The grand prize includes $5,000 awarded to the environmental and sustainability department of the winning school. That school will also have a representative sent to the Enviance User Conference in San Diego this April to conduct a panel on environmental leadership.