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Report Card 2010

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $452 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

Enrollment: 26,944

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  
The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment Resolution and Sustainability Plan was developed by the Energy and Sustainability Committee. Sustainability is included in the campus master plan and the university strategic plan. The newly created Office of Sustainability in Facilities Services manages and/or maintains data for over 50 ongoing sustainability initiatives. The university purchases exclusively Energy Star appliances, environmentally preferable paper products, and Green Seal-certified cleaning products.
In accordance with the university's climate action commitment, Virginia Tech strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Major energy management projects include thermostat set points and air handling controls, steam plant and distribution efficiency, lighting systems, and contract negotiations with energy service companies.
All seafood is purchased in accordance with sustainability guidelines, and between 20 and 30 vegan entrees are offered daily at campus dining locations. Vegetable processing and baking facilities on campus compost food scraps, and leftover food items are donated to two local soup kitchens. The university has an overall recycling rate of 29 percent and hosted an electronic waste recycling event during which more than 6.5 tractor trailer truckloads of e-waste were collected.
Twelve buildings on campus meet LEED certification criteria, and five buildings are currently undergoing energy audits. The university will pursue LEED Silver certification or better for all new buildings and major renovations. Newly constructed buildings have been outfitted with energy-efficient insulation.
Students have been the driving force in the advancement of sustainability at Virginia Tech. The Coalition for Campus Sustainability is the umbrella organization that fosters collaboration for 15 student sustainability organizations. The university incorporates sustainability into new-student orientation, employs one student sustainability planning intern, and employs two students to run the GREEN Team eco-rep program.
For the fourth year in a row, the university is designated as a “Best Workplace for Commuters,” and over 40 percent of commuters use environmentally preferable transportation methods. Blacksburg Transit is fare-free for students and university employees. The Bike, Bus, and Walk incentive program is available for those who commit to car-free commuting. Carpoolers receive a 30 percent discount on the cost of a parking permit.
The university 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 is currently invested in, and further exploring, renewable energy funds and community development loan funds.
The university provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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