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Report Card 2011

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

School details:

Endowment: $613 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Troy, New York


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  
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's strategic plan identifies sustainability as an institutional priority. The Green Corps, an administrative committee focused on sustainability, has implemented a campus sustainability website. Some paper products purchased by RPI contain postconsumer recycled content.
RPI has conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and, since 2005, has seen an 11 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. The institute has installed a 50-kilowatt photovoltaic system and a 10-kilowatt wind turbine on campus. RPI purchases renewable energy credits that represent 6 percent of the campus's energy needs.
RPI spends over 10 percent of its annual food budget on local items from two local farms and twenty local distributors. All milk served on campus is hormone and antibiotic free, and some seafood purchases conform to sustainability guidelines. Vegan options are available at all meals. Excess food is donated to a local food shelter, and 90 percent of meals are trayless.
All new buildings at RPI must be at least LEED Silver certified. The institute has one LEED Certified building and one building that meets LEED Gold standards. To reduce water use, all buildings are individually metered, and dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets and showerheads have been installed. Porous pavement, retention ponds, and stone and vegetated swales are used to manage stormwater.
The Student Sustainability Task Force, which now includes faculty, staff, and administrators, was first formed as an initiative of the student senate and has been advocating for a sustainability coordinator since its inception. Two students are employed as full-time sustainability interns each summer. One housing option for freshmen is a living and learning community called Vashuda that focuses on sustainability and the environment.
All members of the RPI community can use local public transportation for free. The school has also implemented a shuttle bus system to provide transportation around campus.
The institute 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. A list of asset allocation is available to the school community at the investment office.
The institute aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in on-campus efficiency projects and renewable energy funds. The institute also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors. Donors can request that gifts be directed into sustainable and socially responsible investment options.
The institute provides its investment managers with specific guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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