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Report Card 2011

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University of Memphis
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Memphis

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $199 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Memphis, Tennessee


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: No


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 -
The University of Memphis recently finalized a sustainability strategic plan and employs a full-time sustainability coordinator. The Green Campus Initiative offers educational resources to faculty, staff, and students. The University Sustainability Committee, one of three committees devoted to green initiatives on campus, has worked on a variety of programs, including the implementation of vermicomposting and the completion of a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Energy-efficient appliances and environmentally preferable paper products are purchased regularly.
The university aims to reduce Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent from 2008 levels by 2025. Energy-efficient lighting fixtures have been installed in nearly all buildings on campus. Other energy-saving measures taken by the university include HVAC system upgrades and the installation of heat recovery systems and economizers.
Dining services purchases locally sourced dairy and baked goods as well as sustainably harvested shrimp and salmon. Students receive discounts for using reusable mugs. To reduce waste, the university participates in a yearly electronics recycling drive, runs a year-round materials exchange program, and provides recycling and donation locations during move-in and move-out.
As a public institution, the University of Memphis adheres to Tennessee's building policy to satisfy LEED Silver standards on all new construction. TERRA House is LEED Platinum certified, and three other buildings on campus meet LEED criteria. The university has installed low-flow water fixtures in multiple buildings, uses weather-informed irrigation, and manages stormwater with stone and vegetated swales.
The university employs 16 paid student interns to work on sustainability projects. During the newly organized Dorm Competition and Operation Move-Out, students reduced their waste by 12 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The Environmental Action Club, which engages the campus community in environmental action and service, was responsible for initiating a new student green fee.
The university fleet includes 5 hybrids and 25 electric vehicles. A free shuttle provides transportation to local shopping areas. The addition of multiple pedestrian malls, bike racks, and walking trails have made the campus more pedestrian and bike friendly.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. The university does not make the shareholder voting record of its commingled funds public.
The university 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 university is unable to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles.
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