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Report Card 2010

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Duke University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Duke University

School details:

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $4,400 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Enrollment: 13,457

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  
B +
Duke employs seven full-time staff devoted to sustainability initiatives. The university has formalized its commitment to sustainability through its environmental policy, master plan, and strategic plan. The Campus Sustainability Committee addresses issues including transportation, energy, and education. A green purchasing policy mandates the purchase of Energy Star appliances.
The university is committed to carbon neutrality and has reduced emissions by 2.5 percent since 2007. A renovated campus steam plant will reduce coal use by 70 percent and expand opportunities for fuel-switching in the future to biogas. Duke has also performed HVAC system upgrades and 10 buildings on campus are undergoing retrofits for energy efficiency.
Dining services spends approximately $2 million, 70 percent of its overall food budget, on local foods each year. Dining halls serve cage-free eggs, fair trade coffee, and grass-fed meats. Seafood is purchased according to sustainability guidelines. A unique meal plan is available for vegetarian and vegan students. Composting programs are in place, and a comprehensive recycling program diverts 50 percent of recyclables from the landfill.
Duke is committed to building new construction and major renovations to LEED standards. Currently, 26 buildings are LEED-certified or pursuing certification, and one building is LEED-EB-certified. Extensive retrofits have been completed for water efficiency, and, since 2007, water consumption has decreased by close to 50 percent.
Numerous student interns and 15 Eco-Reps work on sustainability initiatives on campus. Student groups include Environmental Alliance, the Community Garden, Duke Farmhand, and the Duke Apiary Club. The university runs a sustainable-living community. Orientation features a zero-waste, all-local picnic and includes crash courses on greening your dorm. Eco-Olympics is a competition among freshman to reduce energy consumption.
Duke has a comprehensive incentive program for carpooling and offers the campus community up to a 60 percent discount on local public transit. The campus bike-sharing program has 120 bikes available, and a car-sharing program is in place. The university provides free bus service on and around campus.
The university makes a list of all holdings available only to trustees and senior administrators. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds and community development loan funds.
The university provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes. The President’s Special Committee on Investment Responsibility and the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility (ACIR) advise the president and board of trustees on investment issues. The ACIR includes two students, two faculty, and one alumnus.
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