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Report Card 2011

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Grand Valley State University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Grand Valley State University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $64 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Allendale, Michigan


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


An application was submitted by Norman Christopher to have this school evaluated in the College Sustainability Report Card 2011 . A contribution was made to cover the cost of inclusion.  Learn more about how a school can apply for inclusion.  


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 -
Grand Valley State is committed to sustainability through a formal plan. A sustainability committee has worked on developing a sustainability indicator report and incorporating sustainability into GVSU's strategic and master plans. The university also purchases a substantial amount of Energy Star-approved products, as well as paper products that contain postconsumer recycled content. The university is a signatory to the Talloires Declaration and the Presidents' Climate Commitment.
The university has completed a formal climate action plan and committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020. To reduce energy use, the university conducts general system tune-ups, has implemented temperature setbacks, and has installed efficiency technologies such as energy management systems; electricity, steam, and water metering; and T5 and T8 lighting.
Dining services spends more than 36 percent of its annual food budget on local items. Pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted at nearly all meals, and trayless dining has reduced waste by 15 percent. Unused food is donated to local shelters at the end of the semester. A variety of sustainably harvested seafood is also purchased, and only fair trade coffee is served on campus.
All new buildings and major renovations are required to meet LEED standards. The university currently has eleven LEED-certified buildings, one that meets LEED criteria, and one Energy Star-labeled building. Approximately 80 percent of construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfills. Low-flow faucets and showerheads, and dual-flush toilets have been installed in numerous buildings to reduce water use.
The university offers 16 paid and 10 unpaid internships to students to work on sustainability initiatives. A semesterly energy competition results in 6 to 7 percent reductions in energy use, and recycling rates have increased up to 37 percent during the annual RecycleMania competition. Environmental stewardship is incorporated into new student orientation. Student groups work on a variety of initiatives, such as local gardening, permaculture, and campaigning for cage-free eggs, which are now offered on campus.
A large portion of the student body commutes via public transit and other environmentally preferable methods. The school provides carpools with preferential parking, and local public transportation is free for the entire school community.
The Grand Valley State University Foundation makes a list of all holdings available online to the public per open records law. The foundation does not make the shareholder voting record of its commingled funds public.
The foundation aims to optimize investment returns and is exploring, but not currently invested in, renewable energy funds. The foundation also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The foundation is unable to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles.
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