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Report Card 2011

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University of Denver
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Denver

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $284 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Denver, Colorado


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 -
The Sustainability Council at the University of Denver has worked to bring about a bike-sharing program, a reduction in energy use, and an increase in green building. Energy Star products and EPEAT-certified computers are purchased regularly, and 59 percent of office paper is postconsumer recycled. A revolving loan fund finances campus sustainability projects.
The university has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent from 2006 levels and aims to achieve a 16 percent reduction by 2020. To reduce energy use, lighting and kitchen hoods have been upgraded for efficiency; economizers and energy management systems are utilized in 89 percent of buildings; and temperature setbacks have been implemented for peak demand times. Competitions encourage departments to reduce energy use.
Dining services spends 38 percent of its food budget on local products. All milk products and almost all yogurt served on campus is hormone and antibiotic free, and fair trade coffee is available at all dining locations. The two main dining halls compost pre- and postconsumer food waste; 98 percent of landscaping waste is mulched; and electronics are collected for recycling.
All new construction at DU must meet LEED Silver standards. Two campus buildings are LEED certified and six meet LEED criteria. Since 2000, DU has repurposed four spaces for alternative use. Low-flow plumbing fixtures have been installed in some buildings, and the university uses weather-informed irrigation. The campus also features a green roof to manage stormwater.
The Environmental Team has worked on a variety of initiatives, including efforts to reduce waste and encourage purchasing of local and organic food in dining halls, and the organization of an Earth Day celebration and a lightbulb exchange program. The sustainability committee of the student senate is involved with the community and permaculture gardens, the campus bike-sharing program, and a bottled water reduction initiative.
Employees receive free unlimited passes for local transit, and student bus and rail passes are discounted about 93 percent. DU provides online ride-matching to carpoolers and partners with a bike-sharing program. Fifty-one percent of off-campus students and 30 percent of employees commute via environmentally preferable methods.
The university makes a list of all holdings available online to all members of the school community. Only information about asset allocation is available online to the public. 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. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
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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