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Report Card 2007

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Cornell University
College Sustainability Report Card 2007

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Cornell University

School details:

Endowment: $4,300 million as of June 30, 2006

Location: Ithaca, New York


Campus Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: No


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
B -
Cornell's commitment to sustainability has been voiced by its past few presidents. A comprehensive website has been established, a Sustainability Coordinator has been hired, and the University is developing a campus master plan with sustainability as a core philosophy. The Provost's Task Force on Sustainability in the Age of Development has released its final report and the Provost is determining how best to act on these recommendations. The University has also joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (www.aashe.org) and will be introducing resources provided by this organization throughout campus.
In 2001, Cornell made a public commitment to reducing emissions levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2008. Through added staff and conservation efforts, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased 15 percent since 2000. The University does not currently purchase renewable energy credits, but it is exploring ways to support the regional production of renewable energy through its operations and has proposed an industrial scale wind farm on nearby Mt. Pleasant. The University has committed significant resources to energy efficiency and conservation measures in campus buildings, and utilizes a cogeneration plant, a hydroelectric dam, and even nearby Lake Cayuga to power and cool the campus, reducing the need for energy from the grid.
Dining services has made an effort towards local purchasing, within the limits of cost and seasonal restrictions. They are tracking the percentage of produce purchased from New York state growers, and working with a distributor who organizes upstate New York farms in order to ensure a more constant food supply. With regard to composting and recycling, the University composts its food wastes and has been able to divert 50 percent of its solid waste through recycling efforts.
Cornell is currently testing Sustainable Design Guidelines -- which are heavily LEED-based, but do not pursue certification -- on two building projects. These are expected to become building policy for all future construction projects. Several buildlings are already LEED-certified, a major research building currently under construction is targeted to be LEED Silver-certified, and two buildings in the design stage also are striving for LEED Silver certification.
The University has made no public statements about making endowment holdings or shareholder voting records available. Therefore, there is no known ability to access this information.
The University prioritizes investing to maximize profit and has not made any public statements about investigating or investing in renewable energy funds or community development loan funds.
The University has not made any public statements about active ownership or a proxy voting policy.
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