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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The College Sustainability Report Card ranks colleges on the grounds of their environmental and sustainable practices. Duke does surprisingly well by this accounting, rating a B+, up from a B in 2007 and failing pretty much entirely on the level of endowment transparency. My other alma maters, Case Western Reserve Purple Monkey Dishwasher University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, do significantly worse, with a B- and a C respectively.

Inside Higher Ed tallies the overall numbers, noting:

Some of the notable trends among the 191 colleges measured this year and last include: The proportion of colleges committing to reductions in carbon emissions (including through formal initiatives like the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment) grew from 45 to 54 percent, and the proportion of colleges that include hybrid, electric or biodiesel vehicles in their fleets increased from 42 to 74 percent. The proportion of colleges that reported buying at least some local foods grew from 70 to 91 percent, and the proportion with full-time sustainability staff increased from 37 to 66 percent. The percentage of colleges with endowment investments in renewable energy funds increased dramatically, from 19 to 46 percent.

Even in the areas where colleges are, overall, the weakest, there were improvements. On endowment transparency, the percentage of institutions making shareholder voting records available doubled from 15 to 30 percent, and the proportion of colleges with shareholder responsibility committees grew from 13 to 18 percent.
Harvard, Stanford, Penn, and UVM were among the 15 schools with the highest awarded grade, an A-.