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The College Sustainability Report Card


Earlier this month, the Sustainable Endowments Institute released a new interactive report card that indicated the sustainability trends at 300 leading schools including Columbia, Harvard and Stanford.

The report card is the only independent evaluation of sustainability in campus operations and endowment investments. It looks at policies and programs, from green dorms and car sharing to shareholder advisory committees and renewable energy investments.

Each school’s full-page profile can be found on the website and includes “A” to “F” letter grades in nine categories: climate and energy use; green building; food and recycling; transportation; administration; student involvement; endowment transparency; shareholder engagement; and investment priorities.

The website also shows trends across policy categories. For example, a dramatic increase in renewable energy investments resulted in “A” grades more than doubling in that category since last year, from 21 to 50 percent of schools surveyed.
“Along with finding out what’s happening at a particular school, the larger question is how schools are using their resources,” said Orlowski. “Are they learning from each other and what example are they setting for students and for the community?”

To peruse these ranking or to create your own side-by-side comparisons of schools using criteria like athletic league, geographic region and Report Card grade, click here.

This post is part of a week-long series focusing on how universities around the globe are remodeling not only their campuses but also their curricula. For more ideas about what to study and where, or to join the debate, check out this week's feature, Majors Making a Difference.

Image credit: The Sustainable Endowments Institute

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I'm very interested in watching how this effects university activities. I think having a national report card is a great idea, and hopefully universities will work to change their behaviors so that they achieve higher rankings in the future.

Posted by: Sustainability Advocate on 25 Oct 08

I recently wrote an article about the efforts of Ohio University to go green. On this campus it is the university driving the students do change their behaviors rather than the other way around. This creates some interesting challenges. You can link to the article from this blog post

Posted by: Dean on 30 Oct 08

Very cool idea. Obviously universities need reliable energy. We need a widespread energy approach and portfolio. This is why John McCain's "all of the above" approach resonates with so many folks. Clean Coal Technology, as discussed, is a great way to move forward because it can provide electricity on a massive scale.

Posted by: Jude Clemente on 31 Oct 08



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