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Report Card 2010

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

School details:

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Endowment: $613 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Troy, New York

Enrollment: 6,488

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: No

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: No


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

Overall grade  
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's strategic plan identifies sustainability as an institutional priority. The Student Sustainability Task Force has published a comprehensive report on sustainability at RPI. The institute purchases almost exclusively Energy Star appliances and a variety of biorenewable cleaning products, as well as some environmentally preferable paper products.
RPI has conducted a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The institute has installed a 50-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of the Houston Field House to supply the energy needed to make ice for the hockey rink. A 10-kilowatt wind turbine has also been installed to generate energy for the campus, and the institute purchases 5 million kilowatt-hours of wind energy each year.
Dining services sources 40 percent of its food from local growers and producers, including a local dairy. Organic food is available at the institute's Terra Cafe. Dining facilities have implemented a Trayless Tuesdays program. RPI recycles traditional materials and has achieved a 40 percent overall campus diversion rate.
New buildings at RPI are designed according to LEED standards. The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center is LEED Silver-certified, and the East Campus Athletic Village is slated for LEED Gold certification. In existing buildings, RPI has installed motion occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and efficient washing machines.
The Student Sustainability Task Force, which now includes faculty, administrators, and staff, as well as students, was first formed as an initiative of the student senate. Two students are hired as full-time sustainability interns each summer. RPI offers a living and learning community that focuses on sustainability and the environment as a housing option for freshmen. The EcoHall competition encourages energy conservation.
All members of the RPI community can use local public transportation for free. The school has also implemented a shuttle bus system to provide transportation around campus. The Office of Campus Planning is currently working with the student senate and the Student Sustainability Task Force to develop a plan for a more bicycle-friendly campus.
The institute makes a list of all holdings available at the investment office to all members of the school community including faculty, staff, students, and alumni. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is available at the investment office to all members of the school community.
The institute aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds and on-campus energy and water efficiency projects. The institute uses investment managers that consider environmental/sustainability factors.
The institute provides its investment managers with specific environmental, social, and corporate governance guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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