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Report Card 2009

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Amherst College
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Amherst College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $1,662 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 1,640

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research and survey responses from schools. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methodology  section.

Overall grade  
B +
Amherst College views sustainability as a core principle to guide its operations. The college's Green Campus Advisory Committee is composed of faculty, staff, and students. The school shares an energy manager and a recycling coordinator with three local colleges.
A new 1,750-kilowatt cogeneration facility reduces carbon emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels, and, since 2003, Amherst has invested $200,000 per year in energy conservation projects. The school purchases enough renewable energy credits to offset the emissions from student computer use. Some residence facilities have solar hot water systems.
Amherst spends 6.5 percent of its food budget with 14 local farms and serves only fair trade coffee. Dining services has a comprehensive composting program and all to-go materials are biodegradable. The college's robust recycling program is capable of processing most materials, including electronic waste, and has extensive collection facilities in all campus locations.
All construction follows the Amherst College High Performance Building Guidelines, which highly value energy efficiency and sustainability. The school prefers adaptive reuse of older buildings to new construction.
The student-created Green Amherst Committee advises the administration on sustainability issues. Amherst participates in RecycleMania and runs its own inter-dorm recycling and energy-saving competitions. Other student initiatives include a lightbulb amnesty program.
The college has three hybrid vehicles in its fleet and all heavy trucks, grounds vehicles, and delivery trucks use biodiesel. Campus police use bike patrols and a zero-emissions patrol vehicle. Along with a free municipal bus service, the school also has an expanding commercial car-share program.
The college makes its endowment holdings and proxy voting record available to members of the college community on a password-protected website.
The college aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The college has also explored, but is not currently invested in, community development loan funds.
Students, faculty, and staff serve on Amherst's Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, which makes proxy voting recommendations to the board.
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