College Sustainability Report Card 2011

Fall semester just concluded, but students are not the only ones receiving grades.  GreenReportCard.org is the only independent evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.  The site recently released the 2011 grades for 300 colleges and universities around the country.  Each institution is graded based on the policies and procedures in each of the following areas: Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building, Student Involvement, Transportation, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities, and Shareholder Engagement.

The objective of the grading system is to encourage sustainability as a priority in college operations and endowment investment practices, according to the website.  As a result the grading scale is rigorous.  Data collection took place between April and September of 2010.  Each school was mailed four surveys – a campus survey, dining services survey, endowment survey and student survey.  Each school then earned numerical points based on their policies and practices for the indicators in each category.  The nine equally weighted categories were totaled to calculate a grade point average (GPA), which was then converted into a letter grade (A-F) using a standard grading scale.

Out of 300 schools only seven received the high score of an A:  Brown University, Dickinson College, University of Minnesota, Oberlin College, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Yale University.  Only one school scored an F and 56 percent of schools earned an overall grade of B or better.  While schools across the country were weakest in Shareholder Engagement and Endowment Transparency, there was a significant increase in attention to climate change.

To learn more about the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card visit:  http://www.greenreportcard.org/

To learn how EES can help your college or university increase its sustainability score contact Tom Petersen at 215-881-9401 or at Tom@eesolutions.net.

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