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Report Card 2011

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Swarthmore College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Courtesy of Swarthmore College

School details:

Endowment: $1,129 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania


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  
B +
Swarthmore is committed to sustainability through a formal plan. One committee and three staff members devote time to administering sustainability programs. All appliances, computers, and air conditioners purchased for the campus meet Energy Star standards, and the college purchases environmentally preferable paper products. A revolving loan fund and an alumni green fund have been set up to finance sustainability initiatives.
Swarthmore recently completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and has reduced emissions by 60 percent since 2005. Campus energy consumption has decreased through a variety of conservation measures. The school purchases renewable energy and encourages the campus community to conserve energy through awareness campaigns.
Dining services purchases some local produce, milk, dairy, and baked goods, as well as some organic produce, poultry, eggs, and granola. Herbs are sourced from an on-campus garden. Fair trade coffee is available, and the college offers a discount to students who use reusable mugs and bags. Preconsumer food scraps are composted at all meals, and recycled cooking oil is used for biodiesel production.
Swarthmore aims to meet LEED standards for all new construction. All dormitory bathrooms have low-flow showerheads, and some laundry units on campus are high-efficiency models. A rainwater collection system has been installed on one building, and some campus buildings feature green roofs.
New students learn about environmental stewardship through volunteer Green Advisors, and the school employs several student sustainability interns and eco-reps. A variety of student groups, such as Earth Lust and the Good Food Project, address and implement environmental initiatives across campus.
Swarthmore's campus is small and pedestrian friendly, and the college offers a free, late night shuttle service on campus. The college also operates a shuttle on weekends to local destinations. A bike-sharing program was launched in 2010, and vehicles are prohibited from the campus core.
The college makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community, and makes asset allocation information available to the general public. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available to the public upon request.
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, and donors can request that gifts be directed into sustainable and socially responsible investment options.
A committee that includes student representatives deliberates and makes recommendations or decisions on proxy votes for environmental, social, and governance issues. For corporate governance resolutions, the college asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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