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Report Card 2010

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Amherst College
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Amherst College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Endowment Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $1,300 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 1,700

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  
A -
Amherst views sustainability as a core principle to guide its operations. The Green Campus Advisory Committee, composed of administration, faculty, staff, and students, advises the administration on sustainability initiatives. The school shares an energy manager and a recycling coordinator with three local colleges. Amherst purchases Energy Star appliances, EPEAT Gold computers, Green Seal Certified cleaning products, and recycled content copy paper.
A new 1,750-kilowatt cogeneration facility has reduced carbon emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels. Four campus buildings, including two dormitories, have solar hot water systems, and five photovoltaic cells and a wind turbine sit atop the science center. Dining hall hood controls save energy by allowing the kitchen fans to run only as fast as needed instead of at a fixed speed.
Amherst purchases produce, meat, and dairy directly from 14 local farms, and all coffee served at the school is fair trade and organic. Dining services follows Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines for 85 percent of seafood purchases. Vegan entrees and desserts are offered at every meal. Over the course of the 2008-2009 academic year, the school developed a composting program that includes both pre- and postconsumer waste.
All construction follows the Amherst College High Performance Building Guidelines, which highly value energy efficiency and sustainability. The school prefers adaptive reuse of older buildings to new construction. Although not certified, five campus buildings meet LEED criteria.
The Green Amherst Project established the Five College Sustainability Alliance in partnership with other local colleges. The organization also initiated an environmental community outreach program for local elementary schools. Five students serve on the eleven-member Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investment.
The college has three hybrid vehicles and one electric police patrol motorcycle in its twenty-vehicle fleet. Along with a free municipal bus service, the school has a commercial car-sharing program with over 350 student members. The program has reduced its demand for parking spaces by 100 spaces, representing approximately 20 percent.
The college makes a list of external managers, mutual funds, and equity holdings available online to all members of the school community. Additional information about endowment holdings is available to trustees, senior administrators, and select members of the school community. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available on a password-protected website to all members of the school community.
The college aims to optimize investment return, is currently invested in renewable energy funds, and is considering investing in community development funds.
An advisory committee with five students, two faculty members, two alumni representatives, and two staff members makes proxy voting recommendations to the Committee on Priorities and Resources.
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