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Report Card 2011

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Luther College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Courtesy of Luther College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $109 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Decorah, Iowa


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 Luther College 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  
Sustainability is one of the three imperatives in Luther College's new strategic plan. The Campus Sustainability Council works on initiatives ranging from regional cooperation on sustainability issues to instituting water metering on campus, and the sustainability department employs two full-time staff members. Luther purchases Energy Star appliances and green cleaning products. The college also presents a sustainability award to employees with innovative green ideas.
Luther College has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent since 2003 and is committed to a 50 percent reduction by 2012. The college has employed energy conservation measures such as temperature setbacks, energy management systems, electric metering, energy-efficient lighting, and vending machine sensors. Luther also generates geothermal energy on campus.
Dining services purchases food from nine local farms and producers and also sources food from the Luther College Gardens. The college purchases organic produce and vegetarian-fed meat, and serves exclusively antibiotic- and hormone-free milk and fair trade coffee. Dining facilities are trayless; food waste is composted at all meals; and students have installed vermicomposting bins in the residence halls. Luther has also converted a large barn into a reuse store that sells the college's unwanted items.
All new campus construction must be built to LEED Silver standards, and the campus includes three LEED-certified buildings. Seventy-five percent of construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfills. The college has installed low-flow faucets and showerheads, uses weather-informed irrigation, and manages stormwater through porous pavement, retention ponds, and vegetated swales.
In response to student proposals, Luther recently created the Sustainable Living House and the Edible Landscaping Project. The sustainability department and resident assistants make sustainability-related presentations at orientation, and all first-year students participate in green service projects. The school also employs eight students as sustainability interns.
Luther's lawn equipment is fueled with biodiesel from spring to fall. As of fall 2010 Luther is operating a twice-monthly shuttle to downtown Decorah. Luther also runs a bike-sharing program and has worked to reduce vehicular traffic within the campus through the removal of one road and the addition of bike racks.
The college makes a list of all holdings available at the investment office to the public. Luther does not make its shareholder voting record public.
Luther aims to optimize investment returns and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The college is exploring endowment investment in on-campus sustainability projects and community development loan funds. The college uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The college does not have the ability to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds.
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