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Report Card 2010

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Rice University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Rice University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $4,610 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Houston, Texas

Enrollment: 4,747

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  
Rice employs a full-time director for the Office of Sustainability and adopted a sustainability policy in 2004 that was drafted collaboratively by students and administrators. The university purchases some Energy Star appliances, paper products made from postconsumer recycled content, and Green Seal-certified cleaning products.
Rice has conducted several greenhouse gas inventories. The university runs two cogeneration turbines and uses energy management software to track the progress of energy efficiency initiatives.
About one quarter of the university's food budget is used for local purchases. Dining services also sources some grass-fed and hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, seafood is bought in accordance with sustainability guidelines, and all coffee served on campus is fair trade. The university's dining facilities are completely trayless. Ninety-five percent of the university's landscape waste is composted or mulched.
Rice requires all new construction projects to be built to LEED Silver standards. The Rice Children's Campus recently earned LEED Silver certification, and several other buildings are currently under construction and awaiting LEED certification. The university diverts about 80 percent of its nonhazardous construction waste, with some projects achieving more than a 90 percent diversion rate.
The Office of Sustainability hires a full-time student intern each summer and nine Eco Reps during the school year. In the Dorm Energy Competition, students competed to reduce energy use in residence halls, saving $15,000 to $20,000 in utility costs. The Rice Green Building Initiative, a student group, conducts site visits of campus buildings.
Rice completely subsidizes the cost of the Houston bus and light rail for students. The university partners with a car-sharing program and waives fees for community members who carpool. The university provided free bicycles to Rice Village Apartment residents who agreed not to have a car at the complex.
The university makes available a list of external managers and mutual funds, as well as a list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The university is invested with a dedicated greentech investment manager and several of its private equity managers consider greentech opportunities as one of multiple investment themes or strategies that they employ.
Some of the endowment is in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles for which the university does not have the ability to vote proxies. For separately managed accounts, the university asks its investment managers to handle the details of proxy voting.
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