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Week of 10.9.09

U.S. Colleges: Going Green Despite Red Ink

While budget cuts and investment losses have hit college campuses hard in the past year, many schools have still adopted or maintained environmentally-friendly practices.

As a result, many schools earned higher grades on the College Sustainability Report Card this year, which graded 332 schools with the largest endowments in the U.S and Canada on their environmental practices.

"Surprising the skeptics, most schools we surveyed did not let financial reversals undermine their green commitments," says Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which produces the report.

Key findings from the 2010 report card show:
  • More than one-half of schools earned an overall grade of "B-" or better.
  • More than two-thirds of schools have full-time staff dedicated to sustainability.
  • Three out of five schools have green building projects.
  • More than half of schools have committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the long term by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
  • Hybrid or electric vehicles can be found in fleets at 66 percent of schools.
Universities are judged by their policies across nine main categories: Administration, Climate Change and Energy, Endowment Transparency, Food and Recycling, Green Building, Investment Priorities, Shareholder Engagement, Student Involvement, and Transportation.

How Green is Your College?

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