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Report Card 2009

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Oberlin College
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Oberlin College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $816 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Enrollment: 2,857

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  
A -
Former President Dye signed the Presidents Climate Commitment. In 2006, the Committee on Environmental Sustainability was formed to review, propose, and oversee implementation of the college's environmental policy. The environmental sustainability office has a sustainability coordinator and a detailed website.
A 100-kilowatt solar parking pavilion has been built adjacent to the existing Lewis Center photovoltaic array, making it a net zero energy building. The Oberlin Wind Power Initiative is assessing the feasibility of constructing commercial-scale wind turbines in the Oberlin area. A student-led program, the Lightbulb Brigade, distributed 10,000 compact fluorescent bulbs.
As part of Oberlin's Buy Local program, about 35 percent of the total food budget is spent on items sourced from approximately 30 local farms and a local dairy. Some biodegradable containers are used.
In June 2006, the college's board of trustees adopted a policy stating that all new buildings must meet LEED Silver standards. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.
In 2008 Oberlin hosted its first Ecolympics, a four-week series of energy, waste reduction, and environmental education contests held among dorms. Students established two funds to help the college go green—the Student Green Fund, supported by a $20 per student, per semester fee and the Oberlin Ecological Design and General Efficiency, or Green EDGE, Fund, a revolving loan fund supported by the college.
Oberlin hosts two car-sharing vehicles through a Cleveland nonprofit and subsidizes membership costs for students. Bikes can be rented from the Bike Co-op, a collectively run bicycle repair, education, and sales shop on campus.
The college makes a list of endowment holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. The college makes shareholder voting records primarily available to the school community, but also to the public. This information is available at the investment office or is distributed upon request.
The college aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds and community development loan funds. Oberlin invests with one of the largest private equity investors in renewable energy. Since 2001 the college has offered separately invested funds that consider environmental and social screening in investment decisions.
A committee of three students, one faculty member, and one staff member makes recommendations to the proxy subcommittee of the board of trustees on votes involving social issues.
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