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Report Card 2011

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Princeton University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Princeton University

School details:

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Endowment: $12,600 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Princeton, New Jersey


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  
A -
Princeton's sustainability plan emphasizes greenhouse gas emissions reduction, resource conservation, research, education, and civic engagement. The university purchases exclusively Energy Star appliances and paper made from 100 percent postconsumer recycled content. Three committees focus on campus sustainability, and a sustainability office employs four full-time staff.
The university has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The campus has an energy management system installed in most buildings, is able to monitor individual building energy use, and has conducted building-specific energy audits. Lighting sensors and energy-efficient lighting have also been installed, and there is a photovoltaic array and a geothermal system on campus.
Dining services purchases produce, milk, meat, and eggs from local sources, including the Garden Project at Forbes College. The university buys exclusively cage-free eggs, confinement-free pork and beef, and sustainably harvested seafood. Postconsumer food scraps are sent to a local pig farm, and composting receptacles can be found across campus.
All new construction must meet LEED Silver standards and be 50 percent more energy efficient than comparable off-campus buildings. The university applies a life-cycle cost assessment and an internal carbon dioxide tax to inform building decisions. Princeton has reduced on-campus water consumption through the installation of low-flow showerheads and faucets, as well as water conservation technologies at cooling towers.
Green Princeton, one of thirteen environmentally focused student groups on campus, collaborates with the sustainability office to promote environmental stewardship. Students also run an on-campus garden. Incoming freshmen are introduced to sustainability during an outdoor pre-orientation program as well as through resident assistants' presentations and a campus sustainability open house.
The university subsidizes public transportation by 50 percent for faculty and staff and 25 percent for students. For interested staff, Princeton helps facilitate ride-matching. Since 2007, the university has run a bike-sharing program that now includes 150 bikes.
The university makes a list of all holdings, as well as a list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community.
The university aims to optimize investment returns and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
More than 95 percent of the endowment is in commingled investment vehicles. For separately managed accounts, the university asks that its investment managers handle proxy voting. A multi-stakeholder committee considers and determines the course of action on significant social investment issues according to a specific set of guidelines.
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