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Report Card 2011

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Seattle University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Seattle University

School details:

  Grade lower than last year


Endowment: $164 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Seattle, Washington


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  
Seattle University’s master and strategic plans include sections devoted to sustainability. A sustainability manager and assistant manager promote and oversee sustainability programs on campus. The Committee on Responsible Investments has made $13,000 of the general budget available to promote sustainability and retrofitting projects on campus.
Seattle University has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 12 percent from 2009 levels by 2020 and 51 percent by 2035. In 2010, the university purchased renewable energy credits that represent 15 percent of the school's electricity use. To reduce energy use, the university has implemented temperature setbacks, upgraded HVAC systems, and installed a centralized energy management system.
The university spends 80 percent of its annual food budget on local products, including vegetables, fruit, dairy, and seafood. Only hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, chicken, turkey, and milk, as well as cage-free eggs, are served on campus, and all seafood purchased meets sustainability guidelines. A vegan option is available at each meal. The university composts postconsumer food scraps at all meals and composts or mulches all landscaping waste. Compost receptacles are also available outdoors, in residence halls, and in some offices.
All new buildings and major renovations at Seattle University must meet at least LEED Gold standards. Two campus buildings are LEED certified, and 102,000 square feet of existing building space has been repurposed for alternative use since 2000. Dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets and showerheads, and waterless urinals have been installed around campus.
During orientation, new students learn about the university’s sustainability efforts. Natural Leaders, an environmental student group, helped the university achieve a 30 percent reduction in bottled water consumption through their Ban the Bottle campaign.
More than half of students and employees commute to campus via environmentally preferable methods. Employees receive a 95 percent discount, and students a 70 percent discount, on regional transit passes. The university offers discounted parking passes and preferable parking incentives for carpooling. The campus is closed to vehicular traffic during class hours.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees and senior administrators upon request. The university does not make the shareholder voting record of its commingled funds public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in community development loan funds and is exploring, but not currently invested in, renewable energy funds and on-campus sustainability projects.
The university is unable to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles.
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