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Report Card 2010

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Virginia Commonwealth University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $253 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Enrollment: 27,306

Type: Public


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  
Virginia Commonwealth University has a formal sustainability policy that specifically addresses climate change concerns. The VCU Sustainability Committee includes four subcommittees that address topics including climate change, community engagement, waste, food services, and transportation. The committee and subcommittees report directly to the university president.
The university has committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and has made progress toward this goal by purchasing renewable energy credits to offset energy consumption of the Walter L. Rice Education Center. Technologies for improved energy efficiency include installation of steam meters and variable frequency drive boilers, campus-wide cooling set points, heat recovery, and HVAC controls upgrades.
Dining services follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines and provides a number of vegan meal options. All tofu and tempeh comes from a local commune, and pastry products are made in-house. Napkins provided at dining locations are 100 percent recycled and compostable. Dining locations are also completely trayless, and customers receive a discount on coffee when they bring a reusable mug.
All new construction projects that exceed 5,000 square feet must meet LEED Silver certification standards. There are seven buildings on campus that meet LEED standards. Many buildings feature occupancy sensors as well as low-flow toilets and showers.
The university offers two sustainability internships with the director of sustainability, and the student government association includes a director of green affairs. There are five environmentally focused student organizations. Green Unity 4 VCU works to address recycling awareness and organized an Earth Day celebration as well as a community clean-up.
Full-time students may take public transportation for free. University community members can request to lease VCU vehicles online. Over 50 percent of commuters travel in an environmentally preferable manner, with over 20 percent walking to campus.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to the public online. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is also available to the public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is exploring, but not currently invested in, renewable energy funds and community development loan funds. The university is also considering using investment policy provisions or investment managers that consider environmental/sustainability factors.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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