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Report Card 2010

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Vassar College
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Vassar College

School details:

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Endowment: $670 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York

Enrollment: 2,400

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

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  
B +
The sustainability coordinator is a member of the Campus Master Planning Committee and voices environmental concerns for all college planning. Vassar purchases all Energy Star-labeled products and only paper with at least 30 percent recycled content.
The college has committed to reducing carbon emissions to at least 10 percent below 1990 levels and has seen a 14 percent drop in emissions since 2005. A cogeneration plant provides the college with 10 percent of its overall energy needs, and shallow geothermal technology heats and cools new senior housing units.
The college purchases root crops and winter squash from the Vassar Farm, and greenhouses on campus supply the dining halls with fresh herbs. The farm also serves as community supported agriculture for Poughkeepsie. The college spends 20 percent of the annual food budget on local items and aims to purchase 40 percent of foods locally by 2013. All eggs purchased are cage-free, and dining facilities serve exclusively fair trade coffee. The campus dining facilities became trayless in August 2008.
LEED standards are considered in construction and renovation projects. All laundry locations have energy-efficient, front-loading washing machines, and restrooms have been outfitted with dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets and showerheads. All nonhazardous waste from campus construction is recycled.
A sustainability-themed residence is available to students on campus. Students competed in the Dorm Energy Challenge for a chance to have dessert with the college president, and the college participates in RecycleMania.
The campus shuttle provides free transportation to the train station, shopping malls, and nearby grocery stores. The new campus master plan limits vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus.
The college makes a list of investment managers and all holdings available to trustees and senior administrators; some information is also shared with select members of the campus community at the investment office. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available to all members of the school community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
The college aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in, and further exploring, renewable energy funds, and is also invested in an SRI equity fund.
For direct equity investments, proxies are reviewed by a campus committee that includes students, faculty, administrators, and alumni. Voting recommendations are made by an investor responsibility committee of the board of trustees.
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