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Report Card 2011

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Vassar College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

  Compare with another school

B+
Vassar College

School details:

Endowment: $732 million as of December 31, 2009

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York

 

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  
B +
Vassar's sustainability coordinator and the College Committee on Sustainability coordinate campus efforts, which include conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and implementing an energy conservation policy. All computers purchased meet or exceed EPEAT Silver standards, and the college buys paper made from recycled content.
Vassar has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent since 2005. A cogeneration plant satisfies 10 percent of the college's overall energy needs, and energy-saving technologies, such as high-efficiency lighting and steam line insulation, have been installed on campus. The college generates renewable electricity from on-campus geothermal and solar installations.
Dining services spends 20 percent of its food budget on local and organic items and also sources from the Vassar Farm and college greenhouses. All eggs served are cage free, and the majority of milk and yogurt is hormone and antibiotic free. Dining facilities compost all food waste and are 90 percent trayless. The campus diverts 40 percent of its waste from landfills and recycles electronic waste in addition to traditional materials.
The college considers LEED and other energy efficiency standards when designing new construction projects. Several campus apartments meet LEED standards. Water-saving technologies have been installed across campus, including dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets and showerheads. All laundry locations are outfitted with energy-efficient, front-loading washing machines.
The Vassar Greens student group and six student interns in the sustainability office help raise awareness about reducing waste and water use on campus. Forty students live in the zero-waste Ferry House, and new student orientation sponsors sustainability field trips. Vassar's sustainability coordinator recently served as convocation speaker.
The free campus shuttle provides transportation to the train station, shopping malls, and nearby grocery stores. The master plan limits vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, and the college offers a bike-sharing and repair program to all campus community members.
The college makes a list of all holdings, as well as a list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, available at the investment office to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. The college makes only asset allocation information available to the public, and votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level are available to the school community at the investment office.
The college aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The college also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
An advisory committee with four students, two faculty members, two alumni representatives, and two staff makes proxy voting recommendations on environmental and social resolutions to the Trustee Investor Responsibility Committee.
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