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Report Card 2011

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Washington University in St. Louis
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Washington University in St. Louis

School details:

Endowment: $4,550 million as of June 30, 2010

Location: St. Louis, Missouri


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  
The Office of Sustainability, which employs two full-time staff, and the Sustainable Operations Leadership Council are working to implement the university's sustainability plan. A green purchasing policy encourages procurement of energy-efficient appliances, electronics, and lighting, as well as water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and a student green fee provides funds for sustainability projects.
Wash U has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 27 percent reduction from current levels. After conducting extensive audits of campus buildings, the Energy Reduction Committee is targeting lighting retrofits, conversion to high-efficiency gas boilers, and ventilation heat recovery systems. The university also incorporates 30-year operating expenses when calculating new building costs.
A fifth of the Wash U's food budget is spent on local items, and coffee served on campus is exclusively fair trade. Dining services purchases only cage-free eggs, vegetarian-fed and hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, and sustainably harvested seafood. No bottled water is sold on campus, and the university utilizes single-stream recycling. Almost all electronic waste is recycled through departmental collections.
The university has committed to build all new construction and major renovation projects to LEED Silver standards. There are six LEED-certified buildings on campus and eight that meet LEED criteria. Four major adaptive reuse projects converted former commercial and private buildings to house university operations.
The university is home to 15 sustainability-related student groups, including the Washington University Cooperative living-learning community and the Burning Kumquat garden. The Green Action group has advocated for maintaining the environmental studies program, increasing student engagement in endowment investment decisions, and for the purchase or installation of renewable energy on campus. A sustainable living manual is distributed during new student orientation.
The university provides full-time members of the campus community with a free pass for local public transit. Wash U runs a bike rental program with repair services, and bike- and pedestrian-friendly development is a component of the campus master plan. The university partners with a car-sharing program and offers discounted parking passes and reserved spaces to carpools.
The university makes a list of external managers available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community, and a list of cash holdings is available to the public online. 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 asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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