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Report Card 2010

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George Washington University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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George Washington University

School details:

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  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $1,256 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Washington, District of Columbia

Enrollment: 15,798

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


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

Overall grade  
The Office of Sustainability was formed in fall 2008, and a sustainability director was hired in spring 2009. The director regularly meets with the university president and discusses strategies with members of the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability.
GW is drafting a climate action plan, to be completed by May 2010. The university advocates carbon sequestration through planting trees in Washington, DC, and has partnered with Casey Trees, a nonprofit organization, to allow students to help plant trees on and near campus. The university performs temperature setbacks, and the information systems and services department has recently implemented several sustainability initiatives that will decrease energy use.
All milk on campus is purchased from a local dairy and is hormone-free. All coffee is fair trade-certified, and customers receive a discount with a reusable mug. All kitchen oil is recycled into biofuel or high-energy fat used in animal feed, and the dining halls use low-phosphorus dish detergent. The campus recycling system was updated in 2008 to improve the diversion rate. GW donates excess food to a local food bank once a week. Bottle, can, and paper recycling receptacles are located in all dining establishments and throughout campus.
The university has committed to LEED standards for all new construction; currently, three buildings in the design or construction phase are targeting LEED certification. The university has installed energy-efficient windows in its largest residence hall, and five residence halls are equipped with low-flow showerheads.
Nine student groups work collaboratively on major sustainability initiatives, including a lightbulb exchange. Students competed in a campus-wide Eco-Challenge in which they tried to reduce energy consumption in order to win various prizes. Students also participated in RecycleMania.
The university fleet includes twenty-two electric vehicles and one hybrid. Discounted and priority parking is available to carpools and hybrid vehicles. GW has also been working with the city government to create the SmartBike bike-sharing program in which students and community members participate for free. Students may also join a car-sharing program at a discounted rate.
The university makes neither a list of endowment holdings nor its shareholder voting record public.
GW focuses on investments that will sustain a market demand over time, and has significant investments in energy and agriculture as these industries struggle to meet increasing global demand. The university is currently invested in projects such as thin-film solar and photovoltaic production, hydroelectric power generation, greenhouse gas credit market development, and sustainable agriculture.
Most of the endowment is in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles. For separately managed accounts, the university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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