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Report Card 2011

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University of Colorado
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Colorado

School details:

  Grade lower than last year


Endowment: $948 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Boulder, Colorado


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  
B +
CU Boulder employs ten full-time sustainability staff, and department eco-leaders run green office certification programs. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the campus master and strategic plans, and the university aims to procure environmentally friendly products and requests that suppliers minimize packaging. A revolving loan fund and student green fee finance sustainability projects on campus.
CU's carbon emissions have remained steady since 2005, and the school aims to reduce emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050. CU Boulder uses energy management systems to control temperature and monitor consumption; efficient lighting has been installed across campus; and all HVAC systems have been tuned for efficient operation. Building proctors also receive cash bonuses for conserving energy.
CU spends 19 percent of its food budget on local and organic foods, and serves only sustainably harvested seafood and fair trade coffee. Disposable bags, water bottles, and cups have been removed from dining halls. In addition to composting food scraps in dining halls, compost bins are available around campus, and football games and campus events are zero-waste. The university uses electronic forms, limits printing, and donates surplus computer equipment to low-income schools.
The Boulder campus features five LEED Gold buildings, with ten more in progress. Only non-VOC paints, green cleaning products, and natural pest management are used on campus. Low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets have been installed in all buildings, and campus water use has decreased 40 percent since 2002.
Students have helped increase the amount of local food in dining halls, developed a zero-waste policy, and recently campaigned to stop the use of chemical pesticides on campus. Student groups work on efficiency upgrades for off-campus houses, produce biodiesel, have established community gardens, and work on local farms. The environmental center employs over 100 students, and multiple residential competitions encourage energy conservation.
Employees and students receive free passes for the public transit system, and the university operates a free shuttle around campus and to local destinations. A bike-sharing and a car-sharing program are available on campus, and bike lanes and parking have been expanded.
The University of Colorado Foundation makes a list of external managers and mutual funds available to the public online. Proxy voting information is accessible at the investment office to the board of directors, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community.
The foundation aims to optimize investment returns and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The foundation also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The foundation provides its investment managers with specific environmental and social guidelines that determine proxy votes. An investment policy committee also makes voting recommendations to the board.
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