Emory's Top Ranking Among U.S. Research Universities in "Green Space" Linked to Higher Retention and Graduation Rates

Emory University ranked fifth nationwide in a “Campus Score” to measure the “urbanism, greenness and on-campus living” of 103 research-intensive universities in the US. Emory ranked first for the most greenspace of the campuses surveyed. The study cited by Times Higher Education and conducted by Amir Hajrasouliha, assistant professor in city and regional planning at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, found a positive relationship between the physical environment and first-year student retention rates. 

The research examined ten qualities, including the proportion of pervious open space, density of tree canopies, proportion of surface parking areas, proportion of students living on campus, campus compactness, diversity of land uses, and the centrality of the campus to its county. The research found that universities with the highest campus scores tended to have a higher proportion of students who stayed at the university after their first year and a higher proportion of students who graduated within six years.

As part of Emory’s 2025 Sustainability Vision, the University has committed to goals of enhancing greenspace even more by shifting from a No Net Loss policy for forest canopy to Net Positive forest canopy policy, enhancing pedestrian shade by planting 200 new trees by Emory’s 200th anniversary, and exploring opportunities to enhance Emory’s original vision of a campus in a forest, among others.

Click here to view the full story in Emory's Sustainability Initiatives.