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Report Card 2011

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University of South Dakota–Vermillion
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of South Dakota–Vermillion

School details:

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Endowment: $115 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Vermillion, South Dakota


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: No

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  
The University of South Dakota addresses sustainability through a formal plan, and the sustainability task force is responsible for creating policies and implementing campus-wide sustainability efforts. The school has a green purchasing policy and buys Energy Star appliances and postconsumer recycled paper products whenever possible. A sustainability website will be released in fall 2010.
The university is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent from 2009 levels by 2011, and energy efficiency technologies such as lighting sensors and variable speed drives have been installed around campus. USD facilitates audits of individual energy use to encourage members of the campus community to reduce energy use. Almost all campus electricity is derived from hydroelectric sources.
USD purchases locally processed dairy products and buys seafood according to sustainability guidelines. Exclusively fair trade coffee is served on campus, as well as fair trade tea. Discounts are offered for the use of reusable mugs and bags; used cooking oil is recycled for biodiesel production; all landscaping waste is composted or mulched. Dining halls went trayless in 2008.
All major new construction projects must strive for LEED certification as per state requirements. The Lee Medical Building is LEED Silver certified, and the Akeley-Lawrence Science Center meets Silver-level standards. Four adaptive reuse projects have been completed since 2000, and USD has a green building policy for operations and maintenance. Water conservation technologies, such as low-flow showerheads, have been installed on campus.
USD has several student organizations devoted to sustainability efforts on campus, including the Green Team, a psychology department student organization that runs sustainability programs, and Students Interested in Free Enterprise, a group of students who are interested in sustainable business.
Over half of the student body commutes to campus via alternative transportation methods, and the school is located in a small town where most faculty members live near campus. A shuttle is offered to and from student parking lots, and USD supports wide pathways and bike racks for the convenience of bikers. The campus motor fleet includes some vehicles fueled by ethanol.
The University of South Dakota Foundation makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. This information is available at the investment office and is sent upon request. The foundation does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The foundation 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 foundation asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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