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Report Card 2011

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University of San Diego
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of San Diego

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $248 million as of June 30, 2010

Location: San Diego, California


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 San Diego is committed to sustainability through a formal policy and plan. The sustainability committee works to develop policies and educates the school community about environmental and conservation efforts on campus. A full-time director heads up the sustainability office. All new appliances purchased by the university are Energy Star certified.
Since 2008, the university has seen a 3 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. USD is currently working on an $8.2 million efficiency project with an outside contractor to further reduce energy usage and carbon emissions. The university has installed a 1.2-megawatt photovoltaic system on campus and uses an energy management system to monitor energy use.
The university sources 13 percent of its food locally, including herbs grown from an on-campus garden. An additional 13 percent of the food budget is spent on organic items. Only cage-free eggs are served, and most meals have vegan options. All coffee served is fair trade, and discounts are offered for using reusable mugs. The school hosts a semiannual office materials exchange and collects electronics for recycling.
All new buildings will be LEED Silver certified at a minimum, and USD currently has 11 buildings that meet LEED standards. Since 2005, the university has achieved a 28 percent reduction in per capita water consumption. To manage stormwater, the university has installed vegetated roofs and porous pavement.
The Natural World residence area provides first-year students with a living-learning option focused on environmental stewardship. The university currently employs two interns to work on campus sustainability projects. Student groups such as Totally Rad Environmental Enthusiasts (TREE), NetImpact, and Students for Fair Trade and Sustainability are active on campus.
At USD, 19 percent of students commute via environmentally preferable methods. The university offers preferred parking for students, faculty, and staff who carpool. Students also receive a 50 percent discount on mass transit passes, and the university offers a free on-campus shuttle service to the school community.
The university makes a list of external managers and mutual funds, as well as equity, fixed income, hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, natural resource, and cash holdings, available to the public online. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in on-campus sustainability projects and renewable energy funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The vast majority of the endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investments for which the university does not have the ability to vote proxies. For the remaining portion of investments, the university provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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