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Report Card 2009

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Brandeis University
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Brandeis University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $691 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Waltham, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 5,072

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 -
President Reinharz signed the Presidents Climate Commitment. The university has a full-time energy manager and employs a full-time sustainability coordinator. Brandeis Environmental Sustainability Team, composed of faculty, staff, and students, works to facilitate sustainability initiatives on campus.
Renewable sources provide 15 percent of the school's electricity. Brandeis has allocated over $9 million to help reduce energy use and is embarking on the second phase of its energy saving program, which involves many standard efficiency upgrades to campus facilities. The university sponsors many conservation programs, including an inter-dorm energy savings contest.
Dining services offers some local food, when available, and sells local and organic produce in its convenience store. Fair trade coffee and cage-free eggs are offered at various dining locations, and one salad bar is exclusively dedicated to local and organic food. The school has a composting program, uses biodegradable to-go containers, and heavily promotes the use of china over to-go containers. Brandeis has a comprehensive recycling program that includes electronic waste.
Recent construction has some green features, including low-VOC paints and bamboo flooring. Although it is a stated goal for all new construction to achieve a LEED Silver rating or better, the university does not have any LEED-certified buildings.
Through the Greening the Ivory Tower course, students have initiated various sustainability projects, including a community garden for local children and a campus farmers market. Students for Environmental Action organizes conservation and advocacy events. An Eco-Reps program is starting in fall 2008.
Brandeis operates a shuttle service for student transportation, participates in a commercial car-sharing service, offers employees the opportunity to buy transit passes with pretax earnings, and utilizes a state carpool matching service.
The university makes neither a list of endowment holdings nor its shareholder voting record public. This information is available only to trustees and senior administrators.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles. Several of the university’s investment managers consider environmental factors in their investment process. The university also invests in a socially responsible equity fund.
Most of the endowment’s equity assets are in commingled vehicles where the university does not have the ability to vote proxies. For those in separate accounts, investment managers are provided with the university’s social responsibility policy and asked to vote accordingly.
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