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Report Card 2011

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Amherst College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Amherst College

School details:

Endowment: $1,386 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
A -
Amherst identifies sustainability as the core principle that directs all of its operations. Two committees and several part-time staff members work to implement sustainability initiatives in all realms of campus life. The college purchases exclusively green cleaning products as well as Energy Star products. Green audits and office tips are used to promote resource conservation among faculty and staff.
The college aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent from 1997 levels by 2009. Amherst has implemented energy efficiency technologies, such as steam trap systems, back pressure turbines, and lighting sensors. Four solar hot water systems have been installed on campus, and over 30 percent of electricity purchased for the campus comes from renewable sources.
Amherst spends 25 percent of its food budget on local products and buys organic produce, vegetarian-fed animal products, and hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and beef. Almost half of all seafood purchases are sustainably harvested, and fair trade coffee is served. The college provides each student with a reusable mug, and pre- and postconsumer food waste is composted at all meals.
Amherst incorporates sustainable design and building practices into all new construction and renovation projects. Five buildings meet LEED Certified-level criteria and four buildings have been repurposed for alternative uses. Water conservation technologies have been installed across campus, including efficient laundry technology and low-flow showerheads.
New students learn about sustainability on campus through talks on energy conservation and recycling, and the college employs one summer sustainability intern. Students participate in three competitions with the goals of conserving energy and reducing waste. The Green Amherst Project raises awareness of sustainability issues on campus.
Amherst offers free access to a ride-share website and to local public transportation. The college partners with a car-sharing program and promotes a pedestrian- and bike-friendly campus. Gas-electric hybrid vehicles make up 20 percent of the general use motor fleet.
The college makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community, and makes a list of asset allocation, external managers, mutual funds, and equity holdings available to all members of the school community. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available to all members of the school community. Information is accessible on a password-protected website.
The college aims to optimize investment returns and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The college is also exploring investment in community development loan funds, and uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
Students, faculty, alumni, and staff on the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing make proxy voting recommendations to the board of trustees.
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