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Report Card 2009

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University of Pennsylvania
College Sustainability Report Card 2009

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University of Pennsylvania

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $6,635 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 23,305

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 -
President Gutmann signed the Presidents Climate Commitment and the university aims to complete its sustainability and carbon reduction plan by 2009. A new sustainability coordinator works with an assistant coordinator and recycling consultant on sustainability activities. An environmental sustainability advisory committee, comprised of more than 30 students, faculty, and staff, meets several times each semester.
Penn’s carbon footprint survey was completed last year and will be updated annually. Carbon reduction goals are being formulated. Several successful energy conservation programs have been implemented and the school purchases renewable energy credits from wind power generation equivalent to 46 percent of its electricity.
The university supports local farms with a farm-to-institution program and by hosting weekly farmers markets where students may purchase items using their meal plans. A small garden maintained by students, called the Edible Forest, is a pilot for urban food production.
Penn's campus development plan, Penn Connects, aims to achieve LEED Silver certification for all new building projects. All nine new academic and residential buildings will achieve this goal and the proposed Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center is pursuing Platinum certification. The first green roof renovation project was completed last year; the university already has two existing green roofs in the form of gardens above occupied spaces.
Penn implemented a new orientation program this year that educated new students about sustainability. Several full- and part-time paid internships focus on sustainability. Several student groups work to increase environmental awareness on campus.
The Compass Program offers a 10 percent discount to faculty and staff for public transit, and the PennPass, a heavily subsidized student transit pass, allows for unlimited rides on buses and subways. Staff receive discounted rates for a local car-sharing program. The university is working to increase the usage of alternative forms of transport by faculty and staff from 40 to 60 percent.
The university makes information on endowment holdings available only to trustees and senior administrators. Proxy voting records are available at the investment office to all members of the school community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The Social Responsibility Advisory Committee, consisting of students, faculty, and staff, examines the endowment to ensure that holdings are consistent with institutional values, and investigates and designs shareholder engagement policies.
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