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Report Card 2009

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Rice University
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Rice University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $4,670 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Houston, Texas

Enrollment: 4,855

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 Leebron signed the Presidents Climate Commitment and the university is a signatory of the Talloires Declaration. The university has adopted its own sustainability policy and employs a full-time director of sustainability. Efforts have been made to purchase green and recycled materials, as well as green cleaning supplies for custodial staff.
Classes at Rice have completed and updated yearly carbon emissions inventories. A natural gas cogeneration plant provides 35 percent of the university’s energy, and vending misers and front-loading washing machines have been installed.
A series of community gardens and a farmers market on campus provide local produce. Fair trade coffee and biodegradable plates and cups are available. Excess cooking oil is manufactured into biodiesel for campus vehicles. Landscaping waste is composted for mulch. There is a comprehensive recycling program that diverted 27 percent of the university's waste in 2007.
New construction will be designed with environmentally friendly features in mind and Rice's sustainable facilities policy mandates that all future construction be LEED-certified. Duncan College will be Rice's first LEED Gold building. In September 2007, Rice deconstructed three buildings. Many ongoing campus construction projects recycle over 75 percent of waste materials.
Employment opportunities for students are available as sustainability/community garden interns, and as dormitory Eco-Reps. The environmental club organizes an annual conference and the Rice student volunteer program sponsors beach clean-ups. A dorm energy competition between the north and south colleges promotes energy conservation. The Solar Decathlon team will compete in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.
Facilities management has electric carts and uses waste cooking oil for biodiesel mowers. The administration encourages students, faculty, and staff to use public transit by providing unlimited free rides on the metro system. There is also an online carpool list and the university participates in the NuRide carpool service. The campus shuttle system links the campus with off-site graduate student housing and nearby employment, shopping, and entertainment centers. Rice is partnered with a car-sharing program.
The university makes a list of endowment holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community at the investment office or by request. Proxy voting records are accessible at the investment office only to senior administration and trustees.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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