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Report Card 2011

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University of Chicago
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Chicago

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $5,094 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Chicago, Illinois


Campus Survey: No

Dining Survey: No

Endowment Survey: No

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: This school did not respond to any of the three administrator surveys. The data used for both the profile and grading was compiled from independent research. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methodology section.  


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  
C +
The University of Chicago Sustainability Council has held gardening and green practices workshops, hosted Earth Week events, and worked on composting in coffee shops, among other initiatives. All toilet paper and paper towels purchased for the campus are postconsumer recycled, and all cleaning products are Green Seal certified.
The university uses a centralized energy management system and regulates temperature based on building occupancy. Efficient fume hoods, lighting sensors, and LED lights have been installed. The SAGE poster campaign encourages turning off lights and monitors, keeping windows closed, and using revolving doors. The university purchases 5 percent of dorm energy from renewable sources. A greenhouse gas emissions inventory has been completed, as have energy audits and efficiency upgrades to several campus buildings.
The university buys only hormone-free milk, purchases seafood according to sustainability guidelines, and serves exclusively fair trade coffee. All residence hall dining locations compost pre- and postconsumer food scraps; recycling is single stream; and nontraditional waste is collected during an annual event. Unwanted items are swapped via an online marketplace.
The Kenwood Building and the Searle Chemistry Lab are LEED Gold certified, and four campus buildings are pending LEED certification. Landscaping practices include using compost as fertilizer and practicing integrated pest management. Only paints low in VOCs are used, and low-flow fixtures have been installed across campus. The university’s first solar installation is moving forward at the new arts center.
Members of the Green Campus Initiative run an annual dorm energy conservation competition, and have worked to reduce bottled water use on campus. Students are involved in the Sustainability Council, and a student is working to plant gardens outside of dorms. Three interns work on environmental efforts, and sustainability ambassadors work to raise awareness among the student body.
UChicago provides free parking to carpools of three or more. Bike commuters receive a discounted gym membership, and public transit users receive 24 free one-time parking permits and a guaranteed ride home. Local buses are free to those with a valid university ID. The university also operates bike- and car-sharing programs.
The university makes a list of asset allocation and external managers available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors. Donors may request that gifts be directed into sustainable and socially responsible investment options.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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