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Report Card 2010

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Western Michigan University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Western Michigan University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $148 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Enrollment: 20,345

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  
With the guidance of the President’s University-wide Sustainability Committee, WMU recently completed the Strategic Sustainability Initiatives Report, opened the Office of Campus Sustainability, and hired the university's first sustainability director. The university has an Energy Star purchasing policy and a green cleaning policy, and purchases environmentally preferable paper products.
WMU has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and is developing a climate action plan. Measures to reduce energy consumption have included the conversion to computerized control of HVAC systems and expanding daylight harvesting to capture outdoor light. WMU has active wind and solar demonstration projects and the president's house is powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Dining services spends 11 percent of its total food budget on local and sustainably produced items, including baked goods, fair trade coffee, and hormone-free milk from a local dairy. Students receive a 20 percent discount on beverages purchased with a reusable mug in campus cafes. The university is piloting a vermicomposting program for preconsumer food waste, and all but one of the dining halls have gone trayless.
Campus performance standards mandate that all construction and renovations costing more than $1 million must use LEED criteria as guidelines for project design. One campus building has achieved LEED-EB Gold certification, and three new buildings and two renovations meet or exceed LEED-EB Silver criteria.
The university employs ten student interns devoted to furthering sustainability campus. The Western Student Association was instrumental in creating the campus's new EcoMug program and has worked to help increase the number of recycling receptacles on campus. Students for a Sustainable Earth also works to raise environmental awareness on campus, and seven students live in a sustainability-themed house.
WMU students have unlimited access to public bus service, which has routes throughout the campus and surrounding community. The university's fleet includes 85 ethanol vehicles. Students run an on-campus biodiesel collective, which distributes biodiesel to university and community members.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community at the investment office. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is made available only to trustees and senior administrators.
WMU aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The university does not generally have the ability to vote proxies, as the endowment is invested in mutual funds. In the few cases where the university does have the ability to vote, a member of the university administration determines proxy votes.
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