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Report Card 2009

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Southern Methodist University
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Southern Methodist University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $1,328 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Dallas, Texas

Enrollment: 10,901

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  
C +
Southern Methodist University is considering signing the Presidents Climate Commitment and has made progress toward completing tasks that fall within the Commitment. The Sustainability Committee is composed of three main groups, representing administrative, academic, and student involvement.
The university has negotiated long-term power purchase agreements with a Texas wind farm and a local biomass power plant for all of its electrical needs. A Green Machine is currently being tested to take low temperature waste heat and directly produce electricity. The university has contracted with an outside company to have the inventory completed by the end of September 2008.
More than 70 percent of the dairy products served daily are produced locally, and the dining hall salad bar is 30 percent organic. A new dining location opened in the spring of 2008 that serves entirely organic food. Dining services encourages trayless dining in order to reduce student food waste. All used furniture is first moved to the reuse warehouse, where faculty and staff are encouraged to reuse it at no cost to the respective department.
All new facilities at SMU will seek LEED certification, provided associated costs are feasible. The university has one LEED Gold building and three buildings currently under construction are pursuing LEED certification. The university is conducting a campus-wide water fixture retrofit that includes waterless urinals and low-flow showerheads. These upgrades will save 10 million gallons of water and $50,000 annually.
There are three student organizations that address sustainability, one of which is supported by the energy management department. These groups are strongly encouraged to participate on the Sustainability Committee.
The university fleet is comprised of more than 50 percent electric-powered carts. All new carts purchased must be electrically powered. The campus has four plug-in spaces that serve either electric or hybrid vehicles, with plans to add twelve additional spaces. An SMU shuttle system provides access to surrounding areas.
The university makes a list of endowment holdings and its proxy voting record available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. This information is available at the investment office.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is exploring, but not currently invested in, renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles. Some of the university's private equity funds have portfolio companies that are involved in renewable energy activities.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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