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Report Card 2008

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The College Sustainability Report Card 2008 grades are determined through the following process: Every school evaluated was awarded points according to its level of activity for each indicator within all eight categories listed in this section. When appropriate, school size and geographic setting are taken into consideration. Maximum points vary by indicator. For each category, point totals are used to determine the grade. The eight main categories are weighted equally in calculating the school’s GPA on a 4.0 scale and then translated into the overall letter grade.


The following 39 indicators are based on thorough research of sustainability best practices in higher education concerning campus operations and endowment policies. While these indicators take a broad range of policies and programs into consideration, they do not encompass all college and university sustainability efforts nor do they include teaching, research, or other academic aspects concerning sustainability. 




Sustainability Policies

  • Demonstrating a commitment to campus sustainability by the president and senior administrators.
  • Adopting sustainability-related mission statements, master plans, and/or endorsements of local, national, or international agreements (e.g., American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Talloires Declaration).


Sustainability Staff

  • Designating staff to help develop, facilitate, and oversee sustainability programs and policies.
  • Supporting the sustainability staff, as indicated by level of authority and funding.


Green Purchasing Policies

  • Prioritizing the purchase of reusable materials, green-certified materials, eco-friendly cleaning products, bulk items, and/or products requiring minimal packaging.


Advisory Council

  • Integrating multiple stakeholders into an active advisory council to guide the administration on issues of campus sustainability.


Student Involvement

  • Facilitating student involvement in institutional decision making on sustainability issues.
  • Supporting active student environmental organizations.



  • Maintaining an office or center specifically focused on achieving campus sustainability goals.



  • Operating an Internet resource for community education on sustainability.
  • Offering a school website to facilitate involvement in campus sustainability initiatives.



Climate Change and Energy

Carbon Emissions Inventory

  • Completing a campus carbon emissions inventory.


Commitment to Emissions Reduction

  • Instituting efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Committing to climate neutrality, either through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment or through another similar pledge.


Energy Efficiency

  • Using energy-efficient technology.
  • Installing equipment such as vendor misers on vending machines to decrease electricity consumption, motion sensors to automatically turn off lights when a room is not in use, and compact fluorescent bulbs to replace incandescent lightbulbs.


Energy Conservation

  • Facilitating programs that provide incentives for members of the campus community to reduce energy use.


Renewable Energy Purchase

  • Purchasing electric power from renewable sources or purchasing renewable energy credits.


Renewable Energy Investment

  • Installing or planning solar, wind, geothermal, or other alternative sources of power.
  • Investing in renewable energy technology with the potential to benefit the community beyond campus.



Food and Recycling

Local Food

Purchasing food from local farmers and producers.

  • Participating in farm-to-school programs and food production on campus.
  • Geographical location and seasonal availability is taken into consideration.


Organic and Sustainably Produced Food

  • Incorporating organic, fair-trade, or other sustainably produced foods in the menu.
  • Making available organic and fair-trade products in other campus food facilities such as cafés and stores.
  • Supporting organic food production on campus.


Reusable Dishware and Eco-friendly To-go Containers

  • Decreasing dining hall waste by encouraging the use of reusable dishware.
  • Eliminating the use of Styrofoam products.
  • Offering to-go containers made from recycled, biodegradable, or eco-friendly materials.


Food Composting

  • Implementing a composting program to manage dining hall food waste. Diversion rates are noted.


Recycling Program for Dining Halls

  • Administering a recycling program for dining hall recyclables, such as bottles, cans, and cardboard. Diversion rates are noted.


Recycling Program for Office Waste

  • Providing recycling receptacles for items such as paper, printer cartridges, and batteries.
  • Encouraging recycling of office materials by faculty, staff, and students. Diversion rates are noted.


Composting of Landscaping Waste

  • Composting landscaping waste.
  • Recycling landscape waste into mulch for use on campus.



Green Building

Green Building Policy

  • Committing through a formal policy to the use of green building criteria in all construction and renovation.


LEED Certification

  • Seeking certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
  • Requiring all new buildings to be LEED certified.


New Construction

  • Incorporating green building standards into specific new building projects.


Renovation and Retrofits

  • Renovating existing buildings in accordance with green standards.
  • Installing various retrofits such as low-flow plumbing
    equipment to conserve water.




Alternative Vehicle Fleet

  • Maintaining vehicle fleets or a campus shuttle running on clean-burning fuels or electricity, either for campus maintenance or for use/rent by faculty, staff, and students.


Mass Transit

  • Providing transportation or access to public transportation systems around campus or to local destinations.


Incentives for Carpooling or Using Public Transportation

  • Creating incentives for the campus community to carpool or to use public transportation.


Bicycle Program

  • Encouraging bike use by providing more bicycle racks and offering repair services and bicycle rental or sharing.



  • Planning and implementing a pedestrian-friendly and/or bike-friendly campus.
  • Creating parking policies to encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation.



Endowment Transparency

Investment Holdings

  • Making lists of investment holdings available to the school community or to a wider audience.


Proxy Voting Record

  • Making proxy voting records available to the school community or to a wider audience.



  • Making investment holdings and proxy voting records available based on the following priorities:
    1. Providing information via a publicly accessible website.
    2. Providing information via a password-protected website.
    3. Sending information, upon request, via email or post.



Investment Priorities

Renewable Energy and Sustainable Investment

  • Using environmental sustainability criteria in selecting all or part of endowment investments.
  • Investing in renewable energy funds or actively investigating the option.


Community Investment

  • Making investments in community development loan funds or other community development financial institutions or actively investigating the option.


Optimizing Investment Return

  • Investing to optimize long-term profit–a vital aspect of maintaining endowment sustainability.


Eight main categories are weighted equally in calculating the school’s GPA on a 4.0 scale and then translated into the overall letter grade.
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