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Report Card 2011

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George Washington University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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George Washington University

School details:

Endowment: $996 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Washington, District of Columbia


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  
George Washington University is committed to sustainability through a formal policy and the campus master plan. Three committees address sustainability in all aspects of campus life, and three full-time staff members in the sustainability office oversee sustainability efforts. The university encourages the purchase of sustainable products, and a green campus fund finances projects from the climate action plan.
The university is committed to a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Campus energy use has decreased through temperature setbacks and the use of energy-efficient technologies. A solar hot water system is being installed in three residence halls. GW purchases 6 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Approximately 10 percent of the food budget is spent on local items. The university purchases grass-fed ground beef and hormone- and antibiotic-free milk. Fair trade coffee, in addition to other items, is served at all dining locations. All used frying oil is recycled into animal feed or biofuel.
The university is committed to incorporating green design into major building projects and renovations. GW has one LEED Gold building, and seven additional buildings are registered or under review with USGBC. Three buildings meet the standards of the Green University Program. All system upgrades aim to employ the most efficient devices possible. The university has reduced its water consumption through technologies such as efficient laundry machines and low-flow toilets, as well as water metering for most buildings.
Revolution Green, a sustainability-themed residential community, houses 20 students. A green move-in encourages new students to purchase environmentally friendly products, and orientation activities focus on green practices and introducing students to on-campus gardens and sustainability groups. Several student groups, such as Food Justice Alliance and Green GW, are active in sustainability efforts.
The university offers preferable parking and ride-matching to carpoolers, as well as pretax benefits to employees for use of public transportation. A free shuttle runs between campuses, and about 25 percent of the motor fleet is comprised of electric vehicles.
The university makes a list of asset allocation and external managers, as well as mutual fund, real estate, private equity, natural resource, and cash holdings, available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The university is unable to vote proxies for most of the endowment, which is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles. For other funds, the university asks that its investment manager handle the details of proxy voting.
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