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Report Card 2009

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Swarthmore College
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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Courtesy of Swarthmore College

School details:

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $1,441 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 1,474

Type: Private


Campus Survey: No

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: No


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 -
Swarthmore has created a sustainability policy for the college and has a planning committee working on a long-term plan to achieve the policy's goals. A website lists resources and information about sustainability initiatives and operational improvements made on campus.
The college purchases 40 percent of its power from wind sources and has installed energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems. The Green Campus: Swarthmore and Sustainability capstone seminar produced a sustainability action plan to make campus more sustainable.
Produce is purchased from nearby orchards, and meat and dairy products come from local farms. An herb garden is run by dining services employees, and a student-managed vegetable garden provides produce during the summer and early fall. Yard waste is composted and mulched and used in landscaping projects on campus.
Swarthmore's science center is LEED-certified. A 5,000-square-foot green roof has been installed on Alice Paul Hall and a storage building next to Papazian Hall to help control campus rainwater runoff. There are plans for two more green roofs on campus.
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are distributed to new students when they arrive on campus to raise awareness about energy conservation. Students are paid to manage kitchen compost throughout the school year. Green dorm advisors recommend sustainable practices to residents. Earthlust is an active student organization that has advocated for the purchase of wind power on campus.
The college campus is considered a pedestrian zone, with parking limited to the perimeter. Shuttles transport students to various locations, and students also receive a discount on regional public transportation. A student group is experimenting with hybrid electric vehicle technology.
The proxy voting decisions made by the Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR) are available to the school community and the public and are accessible on the college website. The college generally provides information on endowment holdings upon request from the college community.
The college aims to optimize investment return. The board of managers' investment committee strategy maintains a diversified asset allocation. This asset allocation includes an energy and renewable energy component.
The Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR) serves as an advisor to the investment committee of the board of managers; it consists of four students, three staff, and two members of the board's investment committee. The CIR prepares proxy recommendations on social and environmental issues and has filed several shareholder resolutions. The college's investment managers vote governance issues.
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