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Report Card 2011

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Colby College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Colby College

School details:

Endowment: $512 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Waterville, Maine


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  
B +
The Colby College Environmental Advisory Committee has completed a climate action plan, and has found a more sustainable landfill to utilize. It has also worked on replacing heating oil with biomass and reducing bottled water use. Colby purchases Energy Star appliances whenever possible, and all copier paper, paper towels, tissues, and napkins are made from 100 percent postconsumer recycled content.
All of the college's purchased electricity comes from renewable sources. Colby has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2015. The campus features a cogeneration plant, energy management systems in all buildings, and high-efficiency lighting in 95 percent of buildings. Many buildings also contain instantaneous hot water heaters and lighting occupancy sensors.
The college spends 20 percent of its food budget on local products, including items from the on-campus farm. The dining halls serve exclusively hormone-free milk and yogurt, sustainably harvested seafood, and fair trade coffee. All dining halls are trayless, and food scraps are composted. Compost bins are also located outdoors and in residence halls. Printers are set to double-sided as the default.
All new buildings must meet LEED Silver standards at a minimum. The campus features five LEED-certified buildings, including two at the Gold level. To reduce water use, all laundry machines have been upgraded for efficiency; all buildings are equipped with low-flow showerheads; and irrigation devices utilize rain sensors.
Students have worked on reducing pesticide use, eliminating bottled water, running the bike rental program, and helping in the organic garden. Residents of Green House host sustainability events and try to reduce their resource use. New students are introduced to sustainability through presentations and a zero-waste meal at orientation. Student interns and eco-reps work on sustainability projects.
Colby offers ride-matching and preferable parking to carpoolers. The Jitney takes students around campus and to local destinations, and a subsidy is provided for students to ride shuttles to airports. The college runs a bike-sharing program and partners with a car-sharing program.
The college makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. Only information about asset allocation is available online to the public. The college does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The college aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds and community development loan funds. The college also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The college asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting for the majority of its holdings. For other holdings, a multi-stakeholder advisory committee makes proxy voting recommendations to the board.
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