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Report Card 2011

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Union College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Union College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $326 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Schenectady, 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  
Union College has incorporated sustainability into the campus master plan. The college employs a full-time sustainability coordinator, and the U-Sustain Committee coordinates campus environmental initiatives. An alumni green fund and a presidential green grant fund help finance sustainability projects on campus. Union purchases mostly Energy Star-qualified appliances and exclusively EPEAT-certified computers.
Union has committed to achieve carbon neutrality, partially through the use of offsets, by 2060 and has reduced building energy consumption by 10 percent since 2005. Energy-saving technologies have been installed across campus, including LED and other high-efficiency lighting, as well as steam line insulation. The college purchases renewable energy credits for 15 percent of its electricity and has installed wind, geothermal, and solar hot water capacity on campus.
Dining services spends 20 percent of its food budget on local and organic items. All tuna purchased is sustainably harvested, and only fair trade coffee is served on campus. The dining facility composts vegetable waste and donates usable leftovers through a Campus Kitchens project. The college recycles electronics as well as traditional materials, and collects gently used items for donation during student move-out.
Union mandates that all new buildings and renovations be built to LEED standards. The college has a green building operations and maintenance policy and diverts 80 percent of its construction waste from landfills. Water-saving technologies on campus include individual building meters, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow fixtures.
Union offers both a house and apartment for students interested in a sustainability-focused, living-learning option. The college employs a student sustainability intern, and the U Sustain Committee partners with students on initiatives such as sustainable dining, gardening, and campus-wide competitions to promote energy and resource conservation.
The college offers a free trolley around campus and to nearby locations. Students, faculty, and staff receive discounted bus passes, and carpoolers are provided with preferable parking. Bike racks are located across campus, and Union operates a bike-sharing program. The campus fleet includes ten electric vehicles.
The college makes a list of all endowment holdings, as well as a list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, available at the investment office to the public.
The college aims to optimize investment returns and does not invest the endowment in on-campus sustainability projects, renewable energy funds, or community development loan funds.
The college provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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