Dunce Cap Goes to Princeton Theological Seminary…

Princeton Seminary Fails

…because Princeton Theological Seminary just recently received a grade of D minus from the Sustainability Endowments Institute. I ran across the story on CNN last night, and was shocked to see that my future alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary, had performed so poorly. To see the detailed “report card” for Princeton Seminary (which includes 1 C, 1 D and 5 Fs), click on the image above, or view the pdf here.

The results of the Sustainability Endowments Institute’s study have been published on CNN Money and Bloomberg, and are now being picked up by numerous news agencies.

I would love to see an official response from the Seminary but I doubt that is going to happen.

Here is a quote from the Bloomberg article:

After the top four schools, 22 earned overall grades of B, 54 received C’s and 20 got D’s. The latter included five institutions with D-minuses, the lowest given: Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey; Trinity University in San Antonio; the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana; the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma; and Yeshiva University in New York City.

That’s not too bad – however, CNN realizes the irony in the results: that a seminary would be the place that would score the lowest. Here is a quote from the CNN article:

Amusingly enough, the lowest grade of D minus appears to have gone to the Princeton Theological Seminary, which among other failings has no formal sustainability policies, no organic food initiative, no green building policy, and invests only to maximize profit. (The nerve.)

Perhaps it’s our location you might think. New Jersey was recently eyed as a “source of a stench.” However, it’s not our location. Princeton University, literally a block away from the Seminary, received a B minus (see their report card here). They are doing a lot at the school to think about sustainability, food, recycling & investments. To read more about Princeton University and their sustainability efforts (they even have an Office of Sustainability!), click here.

So while more and more people are becoming aware of current environmental crises, and while schools like Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford and Williams score As on this Sustainability Report Card, and while our neighbor, Princeton University, scores a B minus, our seminary scores a D minus. Our Administration has made it very clear in the past 2 years that they want to continue to work on the relationship between the Seminary and the University. Yet, when it comes to issues of environmental awareness and sustainability, it seems this is a place where it would make sense to work more closely with the University; however, we are not following Princeton University’s lead.

So is this a big deal? Should Princeton Seminary (a school that is quite smaller than many of the other schools graded) be concerned with issues of sustainability, caring for the environment and investing resources for a purpose other than maximizing profits? What do you think? I hope this stirs up conversation around Princeton Seminary’s campus – will the administration give an official response to this report? Will they begin to think about ways to improve their grade? We can only hope…