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Report Card 2010

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Whitman College
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Whitman College

School details:

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Endowment: $387 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Walla Walla, Washington

Enrollment: 1,421

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 Whitman College Conservation and Recycling Committee recently created a new revolving loan fund for sustainability projects. The committee has also funded a renovation of the campus recycling center. The college has standardized the use of Energy Star products, as well as paper that is made from 100 percent postconsumer materials.
The college recently installed a 21-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the Bratton Tennis Center. Temperature set points have been adjusted to conserve energy. Whitman completed its first greenhouse gas emissions inventory and purchases wind energy credits to offset 30 percent of the campus's electrical consumption.
Whitman sources food from 24 local farms. Dining services buys exclusively hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and poultry, and cage-free shell eggs. Grass-fed, confinement-free beef and sustainably harvested seafood are also purchased. Trayless dining has been standardized, and no disposables are used in all-you-can-eat dining halls. Some dining locations compost kitchen scraps, and residence halls recently piloted a compost program.
The college requires all new construction projects to meet LEED standards, with five buildings meeting this standard thus far. Whitman has installed low-flow plumbing fixtures around campus and is currently upgrading laundry units in residence halls to high-efficiency models.
A student intern serves as the campus sustainability coordinator and acts as a resource for students involved with sustainability on campus. The college has a sustainability-themed house and a student-run organic farm. First-year students receive a green guide and attend sustainability workshops during orientation.
The Whitman community has access to the community-subsidized local bus system, which runs through campus, at 25 cents per ride. The campus is bike- and pedestrian-friendly, with over 750 designated spaces for bike parking. Most of the campus community commutes via environmentally preferable transportation.
A list of all holdings and votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is made available upon request to all members of the school community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni, at the investment office.
The college aims to optimize investment return and does not invest in renewable energy funds or community development loan funds. A manager currently invests a portion of the college's endowment in investment opportunities that have a positive impact on climate change. The college has also co-developed a large wind farm on one of its investment properties and is currently exploring expansion to additional sites.
The majority of the endowment is invested in mutual funds or commingled accounts. For the few separately managed accounts, the investment manager largely handles proxy voting. For proxy ballots Whitman does receive, a member of the school administration determines proxy votes.
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