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Report Card 2010

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American University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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American University

School details:

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Endowment: $394 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Washington, District of Columbia

Enrollment: 8,930

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
American recently hired a sustainability coordinator, and the Office of Sustainability, launched in 2009, employs a green building intern and a climate action intern. The Environmental Issues Project Team advises the administration on sustainability issues, and the Climate Project Team will support the creation of the climate action plan and implementation of the Presidents' Climate Commitment.
AU recently completed a carbon emissions inventory, and the school purchases renewable energy credits equivalent to almost 25 percent of campus electricity usage. Technologies and programs, such as a building automation system, lighting retrofits, and a commissioning program, help the university conserve energy.
AU initiated a trayless dining program in all of its dining halls in 2009. At least 20 percent of the food served in dining halls across campus is from within a 150-mile radius of the school. The university purchases fair trade coffee, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, antibiotic-free poultry, hormone-free milk, and sustainable seafood. The university has a recycling diversion rate of 43 percent, and all used fryer oil is donated to a farm where it is converted into biodiesel.
The university incorporates LEED guidelines and other green building principals into all renovation and construction projects and has updated its building standards to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction process. The campus currently has 30 buildings registered for LEED-EB certification. A new construction project is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Residence assistants are trained on campus sustainability practices prior to the arrival of new students on campus. Recent activities for the student group Eco-Sense have included promoting sustainable purchasing and office practices, campaigning against bottled water usage, and planting a community garden on campus. The student government has an environmental policy director position.
The campus currently has eleven electric vehicles, as well as two trucks that run on biodiesel. The university runs an extensive shuttle service through campus and to local metro stops. Transportation services offers a carpool parking pass, and campus community members can participate in a bike-sharing program and a commercial car-sharing program.
The university makes all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and select members of the school community. The university does not make the shareholder voting record of its mutual funds or other commingled funds public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The university does not have the ability to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds.
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