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Report Card 2008

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Vanderbilt University
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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Vanderbilt University

School details:

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Endowment: $3,500 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Nashville, Tennessee


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


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

Overall grade  
C +
Vanderbilt University has several sustainability-related policies and is currently developing an overall environmental policy framework. The administration, including the campus sustainability coordinator, is actively working with a number of student groups to implement sustainability projects across campus, including composting and energy conservation programs. The Environmental Affairs Committee currently acts in an advisory capacity for all environmental management programs at the school.
Four buildings were included in a pilot energy efficiency project conducted on VU’s central campus this year, resulting in an average 15 percent reduction in annual energy consumption for each building. The program is now being expanded systematically to each academic building on campus and will be coupled with an energy conservation educational campaign targeting faculty, staff, and students that will launch in fall 2007. Substantial facility upgrades throughout the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, such as lighting retrofits and chiller/heating upgrades, have reduced energy consumption by 44 million kilowatt-hours per year.
The university dining service’s Eat the World, Save the Earth program offers local and organic foods along with a vegetarian entrée at every meal. VU currently sources from 11 local producers, including a local dairy. It also encourages the use of recyclable and reusable products by designating them with labels. In fall 2007, food preparation waste from the new LEED-registered Commons Dining Center will begin to be composted.
The university’s new residential college system, known as The Commons, is currently under construction and is the largest LEED-registered project in the state of Tennessee. VU achieved LEED Silver certification for two residence halls, and has five more buildings awaiting certification.
The university received the 2006 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in Pollution Prevention for its “Free Ride to Work” program, through which it provides fare for faculty and staff who take public transportation to work. The university provides bike racks and showers throughout campus and powers a portion of the plant operations fleet on biodiesel.
The university does not maintain a record of its proxy voting and does not disclose its endowment holdings to anyone.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is also exploring renewable energy
Most of the fund is in commingled vehicles where the university does not have the right to vote. In cases where it does, that responsibility is delegated to investment managers.
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