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Report Card 2011

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University of Wisconsin–Madison
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Wisconsin–Madison

School details:

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Endowment: $289 million as of June 30, 2010

Location: Madison, Wisconsin


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  
The University of Wisconsin–Madison runs the WE CONSERVE campus-wide sustainability initiative that involves more than 15 faculty and staff and is supported by several campus groups and committees. The Sustainability Task Force integrates sustainability into teaching, research, and campus operations. Over the past four years, the university has issued bonds totaling $48 million to invest in energy-saving projects.
UW Madison has reduced gross campus greenhouse gas emissions 16 percent since 2006 (24 percent per gross square foot). Energy-saving technologies on campus include a cogeneration facility, energy management systems, and high-efficiency lighting and HVAC systems. A trade-in program for inefficient appliances is available, and the university purchases wind renewable energy credits for 10 percent of its electricity.
Dining services spends 16 percent of its food budget on local or organic foods and purchases only cage-free shell eggs. The dining facilities serve some fair trade coffee. Some used cooking oil is used to heat hot water in the Gordon Commons. Preconsumer food waste is composted at all meals, and the university recycles some electronics.
The university mandates that all new construction and major renovation projects be built to LEED Silver standards, and eight campus buildings meet LEED criteria. Water-saving technologies on campus include weather-informed irrigation and high-efficiency laundry systems, and per capita water consumption has decreased by 29 percent since 2005.
More than 20 student groups are involved in on- and off-campus sustainability initiatives, and students may choose to live in GreenHouse in Cole Hall, an environmentally themed community. New student orientation features presentations on sustainability and a zero-waste meal, and all new students receive reusable bags and water bottles. The university sponsors 15 paid and 100 volunteer sustainability internships.
Students and employees have free access to local transit and an on-campus shuttle. Carpoolers have access to a ride-sharing website and preferential parking, and the university partners with a car-sharing program. Last year, 88 percent of students and 50 percent of employees commuted to campus via environmentally preferable means. The campus fleet includes 26 electric and 64 biodiesel vehicles.
The UW-System Administration makes a list of all endowment holdings and votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level available online to the public per open records law.
The administration aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The administration also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors, and donors can request that gifts be directed into sustainable and socially responsible investment options.
An advisory committee with one student and five trustees makes proxy voting recommendations to the UW-System Board of Regents.
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