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Report Card 2011

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ

School details:

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Endowment: $529 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia


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 +
Virginia Tech's board of visitors has approved a climate action plan, and sustainability is a key component of strategic and campus master planning. The sustainability office tracks over 80 sustainability initiatives. The Energy and Sustainability Committee oversees the campus energy, water, and waste reduction policy and conducted the department-level Virginia Tech Green Campus Challenge.
The university has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Virginia Tech has achieved a 3 percent reduction in building energy consumption since 2005, primarily from operational measures, such as scheduled HVAC shutdowns, temperature setbacks, and chiller-free cooling, as well as from energy-saving technologies.
Dining services sources food from 25 local farms as well as the on-campus College of Agriculture and Life Science's farm and the dining facilities' own garden. Over half of eggs served on campus are local and organic; some seafood is sustainably harvested; and fair and direct trade coffee is purchased. Over 200 tons of pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted. Virginia Tech achieved a 36.5 percent recycling rate of its waste stream in 2009, three years ahead of its goal.
The university pursues a minimum of LEED Silver certification for new buildings and major renovations. Henderson Hall achieved LEED Gold certification, and 11 other buildings on campus meet LEED standards. To conserve water, dual-flush toilets and high-efficiency laundry machines were installed in all campus buildings. Almost all construction waste is diverted from landfills.
More than ten student organizations promote environmental stewardship, and the student government has two positions devoted to sustainability. The sustainability office employs three interns, and students may live in the SUSTAIN living and learning house. New student orientation leaders are trained in campus sustainability practices.
Virginia Tech offers free public transit to all students and employees, as well as discounted passes for regional transit. Carpoolers receive discounted parking permits, and the university partners with a car-sharing program. Nearly half of off-campus students commute to campus via environmentally preferable means. The Bike, Bus, and Walk incentive program is available for those who commit to car-free commuting.
The university makes a list of external managers, mutual funds, and cash holdings 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 and community development loan funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The university provides its investment managers with general guidelines that determine its proxy votes.
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