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Report Card 2011

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Grinnell College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Grinnell College

School details:

Endowment: $1,285 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Grinnell, Iowa


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  
Grinnell College has a formal sustainability policy, and the EcoCampus Committee has worked on a variety of initiatives, including drafting emissions reduction goals and revising green building guidelines. A full-time staff member is dedicated to working on energy conservation, water reduction, and connecting sustainability-related student groups on campus.
The college has achieved a 22 percent reduction in building energy consumption since 2005 through the implementation of temperature setbacks and installation of energy management systems, high-efficiency lighting, variable speed drives, vending machine senors, and steam line insulation. Grinnell has completed four greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and the campus features a 50-kilowatt wind turbine.
Dining services spends nearly 10 percent of its food budget on a variety of local foods, including vegetables, fruit, meat, and eggs. All eggs used on campus are cage free, and only fair trade coffee is served. In order to reduce waste, pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted at nearly all meals, and surplus food is donated to a shelter during college breaks. Used cooking oil is recycled for biodiesel production, and all disposable dishware used on campus is biodegradable.
The college maintains seven LEED-certified buildings and one building that meets LEED criteria. Grinnell converted an old glove factory into an office building to avoid demolition and new construction. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads and faucets are used in several buildings around campus.
Students may choose to live in EcoHouse, and sustainability is incorporated into orientation. Paid eco-reps work in all campus dormitories to educate their peers about environmental issues. Various student groups on campus work on programs related to local foods, gardening, and energy reduction. One group recently created green living fact sheets to be distributed to all dorm rooms.
Weekly shuttle trips to local business are sponsored by the college. A car-sharing program has recently been established on campus, and a free bike-sharing program is available.
The college makes a list of all holdings available to trustees and senior administrators, and a list of asset allocation, external managers, and cash is available to the public online. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is available at the investment office to all members of the school community.
The college aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy 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. However, Students for Responsible Investment makes recommendations to the college's investment committee on certain occasions.
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