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Report Card 2008

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Vassar College
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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Vassar College

School details:

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $869 million as of October 23, 2007

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
The College Committee on Sustainability is a group of faculty, staff, students, and administration that works on several fronts to address campus sustainability issues. In past years it has hired student interns to cover specific topics, such as composting, recycling, and local food purchases. Vassar adopted an energy policy in spring 2007 and has had a history of various initiatives to conserve energy dating from the 1980s.
The college has performed several energy audits to find ways to reduce energy use. The class of 2007 purchased a 6-kilowatt photovoltaic system for the college center and the new roof on the barn at the Vassar Farm will feature photovoltaic materials. Meters were installed in residence halls to facilitate the collection of information on consumption and to support inter-dormitory conservation competitions.
The college has a Farm-to-Vassar program through which it purchases food from about 20 local producers and supports three local dairies. Local produce, hormone-free milk, strictly cage-free eggs, and fair-trade coffee are served. All food waste from the dining halls is composted at the Vassar Farm and used fryer oil is donated to be made into biodiesel.
The college does not currently have a green building policy nor any LEED-certified or registered projects. However, new construction and renovation projects are subject to a review for green building standards and LEED certification. A green planning seminar was held for faculty, students, and staff to review options for a major upcoming renovation.
Several departments have switched from golf carts to electric vehicles. The college is evaluating biodiesel fuel vehicles for new purchases within its fleet. The sophomore class gift in 2007 went to reinstating a bicycle sharing program starting in the 2007-08 school year.
Vassar is willing to share, upon request, information about investment holdings and proxy voting records with members of the campus community. Members of the Campus Investor Responsibility Committee also receive information on holdings as part of their annual research work.
The college aims to optimize investment return. Vassar does invest in a socially responsible investment fund.
The Campus Investment Responsibility Committee includes two students, two alumni, two faculty members, and two administrators. It makes recommendations to a trustee investor responsibility committee on shareholder resolutions, policy statements, and other actions as appropriate. This process is recognized in the college’s by-laws and has been in existence for many years.
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