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Report Card 2010

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Vanderbilt University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Vanderbilt University

School details:

Endowment: $2,834 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Enrollment: 11,319

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 Environmental Advisory Committee worked to design the university's environmental commitment statement, which was formalized in spring 2009. The Sustainability and Environmental Management Office, created in 2008, employs four full-time and one part-time staff member. The procurement department assesses vendors on environmentally responsible production methods.
The installation of a cogeneration plant on campus has helped decrease the university’s carbon emissions. Vanderbilt has upgraded HVAC systems, retrofitted lighting systems, and is currently piloting nighttime temperature setbacks to improve energy efficiency. The ThinkOne Energy Conservation Campaign was piloted during the 2008-2009 school year and resulted in a 5 to 10 percent reduction of energy use in participating buildings. Vanderbilt publicly released a baseline inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions in spring 2009.
Dining services purchases local and organic food items, and all coffee served on campus is fair trade. Three to five vegan entrees, and at least twelve vegan side dishes, are served each day. Composting programs are run in 50 percent of dining locations, and a recycling program diverts traditional and electronic items from landfills.
Seven buildings on campus are LEED-certified and six are LEED-EB-registered. Energy retrofits such as the installation of motion and light sensors have been completed in 22 percent of buildings. The installation of water conservation technologies, including 1,500 low-flow faucets and toilets and waterless urinals is expected to save 24 million gallons of water each year.
The new Eco-Dores program provides peer-to-peer environmental education in the residence halls, and six sustainability internships are available to students. Ten residence houses for first-year students encourage eco-friendly living through an extensive environmental education program, using the houses as a living/learning laboratory. Multiple student organizations promote sustainability, and the student government has added a new position and committee devoted to environmental affairs. This year students reduced energy use by 21 percent during the annual House Energy Competition.
The university offers financial incentives for carpooling, and faculty and staff receive a 60 percent subsidy on public transportation passes. Car- and bike-sharing programs are available on campus. Vehicle traffic is only allowed on the perimeter of campus.
The university makes neither a list of endowment holdings nor its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in, and further exploring, renewable energy funds and community development loan funds. The university has investment managers that focus on the environment and sustainability initiatives as part of their investment focus.
Most of the endowment is in commingled investment vehicles. For separately managed accounts, the university asks its investment managers to handle the details of proxy voting.
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