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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mark Orlowski, Executive Director
Phone: 617-528-0010
Email: media@endowmentinstitute.org

 

New Focus at Sustainable Endowments Institute

Billion Dollar Green Challenge prioritized over Green Report Card

Cambridge, Mass - March 30, 2012 -- The Sustainable Endowments Institute announced today that publication of its groundbreaking College Sustainability Report Card will be suspended. The Green Report Card , as it is also known, pioneered the first evaluations of campus and endowment sustainability programs starting in 2007. The GreenReportCard.org website makes available more than 20,000 pages of in-depth data collected for five editions over the past five years.

This data revealed that many colleges and universities were not taking full advantage of the economic and environmental benefits offered by energy efficiency upgrades.  As a result, the Sustainable Endowments Institute is now leading efforts to facilitate large-scale investment in energy efficiency with its recently launched Billion Dollar Green Challenge (GreenBillion.org).

“We’re suspending work on the Green Report Card in order to channel our efforts to helping decision-makers utilize green revolving funds to cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mark Orlowski, founder and executive director of the Institute. “We want to encourage colleges, universities and other institutions to invest in energy efficiency retrofits by transforming them from perceived expenses to high-return investment opportunities.”

The Institute was able to publish the Green Report Card thanks to the generous support of many foundations and individual donors.  Now, funders are giving preference to the proactive mission of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, thus leaving limited resources to produce a 2012 edition of the Report Card .

Report Card surveys have shown dramatic increases on 52 green indicators since the publication of the first edition in 2007.  For example, the percentages of schools that now have the following programs are:

64% - Commitment to carbon emissions reduction (23% in 2006)
70% - Campus farm or garden (9% in 2006)
75% - Trayless dining (0% in 2006)
79% - Green building policy (22% in 2006)
95% - Sustainability committee (40% in 2006)

The accuracy of these data is due to high rates of participation by college administrators in annual surveys.  Throughout the last five years, the campus survey achieved between an 80 to 90 percent response rate, while the endowment survey climbed from a 45 percent response rate the first year to an 82 percent response rate in the most recent Report Card .

"We are deeply grateful to the thousands of university administrators who devoted time and effort to completing our Report Card surveys each year," said Mark Orlowski.  “The higher education community has made significant strides over the past five years in moving towards sustainability, but much work remains."

During the past year, the Sustainable Endowments Institute has worked with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Sierra Magazine and The Princeton Review to develop an innovative collaboration on collecting college sustainability data. Responding to widespread demand for a streamlined reporting system, the four organizations developed and recently launched the Campus Sustainability Data Collector. This free web tool is a major step towards reducing survey fatigue and establishing a universal sustainability survey system for the higher education community.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mark Orlowski, Executive Director
Phone: 617-528-0010
Email: media@endowmentinstitute.org

 

Reducing Survey Fatigue: A Collaboration with AASHE, SEI, the Princeton Review, & Sierra Magazine

Four groups develop common sustainability survey tool

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (February 1, 2012)—Representatives from the Association for the Advance for Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, the Princeton Review, and Sierra magazine began meeting in March 2011 to develop common campus sustainability survey language. The collaboration then expanded to include designing a single survey web tool to eliminate the need for institutions to complete four separate surveys.

 

Join this webinar to learn more about this effort and how it will reduce survey fatigue for institutions participating in multiple frameworks that evaluate campus sustainability.

 

The webinar features the following presenters:

Jillian Buckholz, STARS Program Coordinator, AASHE
Avital Binshtock, Sierra magazine
Meghan Fay Zahniser, STARS Program Manager, AASHE
Mark Orlowski, Sustainable Endowments Institute
David Soto, the Princeton Review

 

Webinar date: Wednesday, Feb. 1
Time: 2:00pm Eastern

 

Access an archive of the webinar.

 
About the Sustainable Endowments Institute
The Sustainable Endowments Institute was founded in 2005 as a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Cambridge-based nonprofit organization has pioneered research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Published annually since 2007, the Institute's College Sustainability Report Card ( www.GreenReportCard.org ) has been accessed by more than 1,000,000 viewers.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mark Orlowski, Executive Director
Phone: 617-528-0010
Email: media@endowmentinstitute.org

 

Green Report Card Joins Survey Collaboration Effort

Four groups plan to develop common sustainability survey language

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (May 10, 2011)—The Sustainable Endowments Institute, publisher of the College Sustainability Report Card , announced today a new initiative among the leading college sustainability ratings. The following joint statement was released by the four organizations:

 

"The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE.org), The Princeton Review (PrincetonReview.com), Sierra Magazine (SierraMagazine.org) and the Sustainable Endowments Institute (GreenReportCard.org) have launched a collaborative effort to improve the process of collecting sustainability data from higher education institutions. For the first time, the four organizations are working together to develop common sustainability survey language. The intent of this initiative is to encourage survey participation from an even broader range of institutions, while at the same time reducing college and university staff time required for data collection and survey completion."

"We are excited about the opportunity this collaboration presents to streamline the survey process for colleges and to save each institution significant staff time," said Mark Orlowski, Executive Director of the Institute. "We regularly solicit feedback from college administrators, and common survey language is consistently one of their highest-priority requests."

According to Mr. Orlowski, the early stage exploration of this initiative was facilitated by a team of pro bono consultants from the Harvard Business School Board Fellows Program. He also said that, in order to have adequate time to plan and revise the survey process, the Sustainable Endowments Institute will be taking a sabbatical this fall from publishing College Sustainability Report Card .

About the Sustainable Endowments Institute
The Sustainable Endowments Institute was founded in 2005 as a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Cambridge-based nonprofit organization has pioneered research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Published annually since 2007, the Institute's College Sustainability Report Card ( www.GreenReportCard.org ) has been accessed by more than 1,000,000 viewers.

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Contact: Mark Orlowski, Executive Director
Phone: 617-528-0010
Email: media@endowmentinstitute.org

 

Colleges: Surge in Sustainability and Savings

52 schools expand energy efficiency efforts, earn "A" grades on  Green Report Card

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Oct. 27, 2010)—Facing frugal times, more schools are finding that energy efficiency improvements can cut costs without cutting campus services.  Connecting the dots between sustainability and savings is an accelerating trend revealed in the new College Sustainability Report Card 2011 .

Released today at GreenReportCard.org , the publication is the only independent evaluation of sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Assessing each institution in nine categories, ranging from Climate Change & Energy to Green Building to Investment Priorities, the Report Card provides detailed school profiles and grades for 322 colleges and universities, representing all 50 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces.

Since the first edition four years ago, Report Card surveys show dramatic increases on 52 green indicators.  For example, the percentages of schools that now have the following programs are:
    64% - Commitment to carbon emissions reduction (23% in 2006)
    70% - Campus farm or garden (9% in 2006)
    75% - Trayless dining (0% in 2006)
    79% - Green building policy (22% in 2006)
    95% - Sustainability committee (40% in 2006)

"The green groundswell on campus is evident in a wide variety of energy-saving initiatives, such as sourcing food from campus farms and reducing hot water use through trayless dining," said Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, publisher of the Report Card.

One example of energy savings can be seen at Harvard. In 2009, the university installed energy-efficient lighting in 10 parking garages, resulting in annual savings of $400,000. Funding was obtained through a $1.2 million loan from the Harvard Green Campus Loan Fund and $200,000 in utility rebates. According to Mr. Orlowski, "The projected return on investment from improved energy efficiency over the next 10 years is estimated to be 23 percent per year. "

This year, the Report Card is introducing Get Answers , a new tool that will allow people to easily find out whether a school has undertaken a specific program or initiative.

Over 90 percent of participating schools agreed to make public detailed information about their inner green dynamics, resulting in more than 1,100 full survey responses with 10,000+ pages of detailed data and descriptions published on the GreenReportCard.org website. This level of cooperation with the College Sustainability Report Card reflects the highest response rate, by far, of any college sustainability ranking or rating.

Data on school grades can also be accessed by geographic region on the interactive map . This feature enables users to click on a college to see all grades listed by category and to link directly to that school’s full profile. Other popular means of accessing information include sorting schools by athletic league, environmental studies academic programs, sustainability jobs on campus, and renewable energy use.

Grading the schools entailed conducting research based on publicly available information, sending surveys to appropriate school officials and student groups, and assessing each school's performance on more than 120 questions across 52 indicators in the following nine categories: Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building, Transportation, Student Involvement, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities and Shareholder Engagement.

The total scores of nine equally weighted categories determined a school's overall GPA on a 4.0 scale leading to the overall sustainability letter grade. Until now, "A-" has been the highest grade awarded in previous editions of the Report Card .  This year, for the first time, eight schools achieved the highest cumulative grade of "A," while 45 other schools earned "A-," qualifying a total of 52 schools as Overall College Sustainability Leaders .

The eight schools earning the highest grade in the College Sustainability Report Card 2011 are:
Brown University
Dickinson College
Luther College

Oberlin College
Pomona College
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Yale University

About the Sustainable Endowments Institute:

The Sustainable Endowments Institute is a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Founded in 2005, the Institute is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and has received funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, United Nations Foundation, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, Kendall Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, among others.

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