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Report Card 2010

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Southern Methodist University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Southern Methodist University

School details:

Endowment: $1,032 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Dallas, Texas

Enrollment: 8,133

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  
C +
The newly formed SMU Sustainability Committee, with representation from students, faculty, staff, and administrators, is tasked with drafting a formal sustainability policy. SMU wrote a green purchasing policy during the summer of 2009, including provisions for Energy Star appliances, environmentally preferable paper products, and EPEAT-registered electronics.
The university has completed a carbon emissions inventory and has subsequently reduced emissions per square foot. As part of its work to reduce its footprint, SMU has undertaken several energy efficiency and education projects. These projects include installation of high-efficiency boilers and a condensing heat recovery unit. In May of 2009, the university purchased 1.2 million kilowatt-hours worth of renewable energy credits.
SMU spends $90,000 on locally grown food, with one location serving exclusively local and organic food. All eggs are cage-free, and all seafood meets the standards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines. The university offers fair trade coffee. To reduce waste, trayless dining is standard across campus, all used cooking oil is recycled for use as biodiesel fuel, and 100 percent of landscaping waste is composted/recycled.
SMU's J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building is LEED Gold-certified, with Caruth and Prothro Hall meeting LEED Gold and Silver criterion respectively. A majority of campus has been outfitted with low-flow faucets and showerheads, as well as waterless urinals. For building projects that are LEED Silver and above, 60 percent of nonhazardous construction waste is diverted from landfills.
Sustainability-themed organizations include Students for a Better Society and the Environmental Society. A student employee helps to document LEED certification, and five other students serve as paid E-Reps, working to promote environmental stewardship.
The campus fleet includes 25 hybrids, and plug-in parking for electric and hybrid cars is available for free. Public transportation is free for faculty members, and students have unlimited access to buses and light rail with the purchase of a five-dollar ID card. University members can rent one of 22 bicycles available for rent at a rate of $10 per semester. SMU is in the process of converting streets with vehicular traffic to wide pedestrian paths.
SMU makes a list of endowment 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 the endowment is currently invested in funds that make investments in renewable energy, and are considering further investment. The endowment is also exploring investment in on-campus sustainability projects.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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