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Report Card 2011

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University of Pennsylvania
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Pennsylvania

School details:

Endowment: $5,002 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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  
A -
A coordinator and two associates oversee sustainability initiatives with support from more than fifteen other colleagues across campus. The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee works to accomplish Penn’s climate action plan goals. A green fund has financed more than eighteen projects proposed by students, faculty, and staff seeking to spearhead innovative sustainability projects.
Penn has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 2 percent since 2007 and aims to achieve a 23 percent reduction by 2014. The university purchases renewable energy credits that represent 45 percent of its energy needs.
Dining services spends 30 percent of its food budget on local products. The school purchases only seafood that conforms to sustainability guidelines, as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and meat items. Food waste is composted at more than 75 percent of meals, and all dining halls are trayless. The university provides composting receptacles around campus and runs collection drives during move-in and move-out.
All new buildings at Penn must be at least LEED Silver certified. Pending certification, the university will have three LEED Silver buildings and one Platinum building; two more are under construction. Since 2000, the university has repurposed 940,000 square feet of existing building space for alternative use.
The College House Eco-Reps program is an environmental leadership program, open to all College House residents, that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and encouraging sustainable practices on Penn's campus. The university  is home to 12 environmentally focused student groups, one of which recently received a grant from the Penn Green Fund to build an on-campus garden.
The PennPass, a heavily subsidized student transit pass, allows for unlimited rides on buses and subways. The university offers preferred parking for carpoolers and is launching a “green rate” parking permit program for low-emitting vehicles in fall 2010.
The university makes a list of external managers and mutual funds, as well as equity, fixed income, real estate, hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, natural resource, and cash holdings, available to trustees. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, is also made available to trustees. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions by category is made available online to the general public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The Social Responsibility Advisory Committee, which includes students, staff, faculty, and administrators, makes proxy voting recommendations on environmental and social issues to the trustee committee. For corporate governance resolutions, the university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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