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Report Card 2011

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University of Alabama
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Courtesy of University of Alabama

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $875 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
B +
The university president has charged the campus community to take responsibility for environmental stewardship in the University of Alabama's master plan. The Office of Sustainability was created in 2010 and employs a part-time sustainability coordinator and web coordinator. The Environmental Stewardship Committee meets monthly to work on various sustainability initiatives.
The University of Alabama has achieved a 2 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2007 despite a 13 percent increase in building space. To reduce energy use, the university has implemented temperature setbacks and has installed technologies such as steam trap systems, timers for temperature control, and energy-efficient data centers. The university has also launched awareness campaigns to encourage energy conservation.
The university spends more than 20 percent of its food budget on products grown or processed locally and serves exclusively fair trade coffee. Dining services offers a beverage discount for the use of reusable mugs, has a trayless program, and composts preconsumer food scraps. The university also composts landscaping waste, recycles automotive equipment, and runs a program to reuse surplus office furniture.
The university has a green building policy emphasizing LEED design principles. Five buildings on campus meet LEED criteria, and four residence halls are Energy Star labeled. The university has installed building water metering, water-efficient laundry technology, and leak detection and reduction systems throughout campus. Porous pavement, retention ponds, and vegetated swales are utilized to manage stormwater.
Sustainability is incorporated into new student orientation and a green guide is distributed to new students. The university also employs two paid sustainability interns. The Student Government Association Department of Environmental Concerns works on various campaigns, including the Greeks for Green competition and Game Day Recycling program.
The university provides free buses around campus and a shuttle to off-campus locations. A ride-matching site is available to faculty and staff, and carpoolers can share the cost of a group permit. A bike-sharing program was started in 2008, and the university also partners with a car-sharing program.
The University of Alabama System makes a list of all holdings available to the public per open records law. It also makes a list of asset allocation, external managers, and mutual funds available to the public and sends the information upon request. The university system does not make the shareholder voting record of its mutual funds and commingled funds public.
The system aims to optimize investment returns and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The system also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The system is unable to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles.
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