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Report Card 2011

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California Polytechnic State University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Courtesy of California Polytechnic State University

School details:

Endowment: $142 million as of June 30, 2010

Location: San Luis Obispo, California


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: No


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  
B +
California Polytechnic State University's strategic plan incorporates principles of environmental mitigation and protection. Sustainability committees have worked on energy efficiency, waste reduction, green building, transportation, and water conservation. Energy Star products are purchased wherever ratings exist, and all office paper has a minimum of 30 percent recycled content. Energy efficiency projects are financed by a revolving loan fund, and sustainable offices are recognized through the Green Office Certification Program.
The university has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Emissions have decreased 10 percent due to the implementation of a cogeneration facility, temperature setbacks, steam trap systems, and monitoring-based commissioning systems. Among other efficiency efforts, nearly all lighting has been retrofitted, and power management has been enabled on 1,500 computers.
Cal Poly's dining halls source produce from an on-campus farm. Pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted in some dining halls, and trays have been removed from nearly all locations. Some offices feature compost bins. Students' unwanted items are donated at the end of the year, and an office supply exchange program prevents disposal of surplus materials.
Cal Poly aims to construct all buildings to LEED Silver standards. There are 21 buildings on campus that are either LEED certified or meet LEED standards. Water use per capita has decreased 13 percent since 2005. All buildings are equipped with low-flow showerheads; laundry machines are efficient models; and non-potable water is used to irrigate sports fields. The campus features porous pavement to manage stormwater.
Students are involved in a variety of sustainability initiatives, including working on the organic farm, producing biodiesel, improving composting and recycling, promoting renewable energy, and building sustainable vehicles and houses. During new student orientation, all meals are zero-waste and students are given information about sustainable living. Eco-reps and Green Campus interns contribute to campus initiatives.
The university fully subsidizes local bus passes for employees and students, and employees who carpool are given preferred parking. The school partners with a car-sharing program. More than half of off-campus students and 29 percent of employees travel to campus via sustainable means. Electric vehicles make up 33 percent of the campus fleet.
The university makes a list of all holdings available at the investment office to the public per open records law. Information about proxy votes on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is provided to the general public upon request.
The university aims to optimize investment returns and does not invest the endowment in on-campus sustainability projects, renewable energy funds, or community development loan funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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