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Report Card 2011

Whitman College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Whitman College

School details:

 Grade higher than last year

 

Endowment: $297 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Walla Walla, Washington

 

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
The Sustainability Advisory Committee oversees campus initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. A $25,000 revolving loan fund finances sustainability projects on campus. Whitman College purchases mostly Energy Star-qualified appliances and electronics, as well as some recycled and FSC-certified paper products.
Whitman has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions 22 percent from 2008 levels and has installed energy-saving technologies such as heat recovery systems, lighting sensors, and high-efficiency lighting. The campus generates 3 percent of its electricity from on-site solar panels and purchases renewable energy credits for another 30 percent of electricity use.
Dining services spends 22 percent of its food budget on local and organic items and sources produce from a student-run, on-campus garden. Only cage-free eggs and hormone- and antibiotic-free milk are purchased, and most beef is pasture raised. Exclusively fair trade coffee and sustainably harvested seafood are served on campus. The college diverts 50 percent of its waste from landfills and places compost bins in first-year residence halls.
Whitman mandates that all new construction meet LEED criteria, and five buildings on campus meet LEED Silver standards. To conserve water, the college has installed low-flow faucets and showerheads. Most buildings are equipped with energy management systems.
A student intern serves as Whitman's sustainability coordinator and acts as a resource for students involved with sustainability on campus. Ten students live in the Environmental House, and new student orientation features comprehensive sustainability presentations. Student groups are involved in campus gardening, composting, and greenhouse gas emissions inventories.
Whitman's campus is bike and pedestrian friendly; there are more bike racks than parking spaces on campus, and the college operates a free bicycle repair shop. Ninety percent of students commute to campus via environmentally preferable transportation.
The college makes a list of all endowment holdings and votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares, available at the investment office to the entire school community. Only asset allocation information is made available to the general public.
The college aims to optimize investment returns and is exploring, but not currently invested in, renewable energy projects. The college uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The college is unable to vote proxies for the portion of the endowment that is invested in mutual funds or other commingled investment vehicles. For separately managed accounts, a member of the school administration handles the details of proxy voting.
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