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College Sustainability Report Card

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The Sustainable Endowments Institute released its College Sustainability Report Card, which grades 100 leading colleges by looking at campus greening practices and endowment policies.

The Cambridge-based research institute announced that the report’s grade of "A-", the highest cumulative sustainability grade, was received by Harvard University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and Williams College. In addition, 26 schools received an average grade of "A-" or better upon assessing only campus operations.

The College Sustainability Report Card takes into account 26 indicators, from green building initiatives to endowment investment policies, and uses an A to F letter grading system to evaluate performance. The study indicates that some leading schools are taking proactive steps on both campus and endowment sustainability initiatives. Other schools are shown to have a less consistent commitment.

While the report assigns grades for each indicator, the final cumulative sustainability grade distribution is as follows: Four schools earned level "A" grades, 22 earned level "B" grades, 54 earned level "C" grades, and 20 earned level "D" grades.

"This is the first time that colleges have been assessed on both campus and endowment sustainability policies," said Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute. “These schools have combined holdings of more than $258 billion–approximately 75 percent of all higher education endowment investments.”

The report presents easily accessible information regarding sustainability practices at the 100 institutions with the largest endowments in the United States and Canada, including the Ivy League and Big 10, as well as other top public and private colleges. "When it comes to sustainability," Orlowski said, "the key questions about these institutions are: How do sustainability factors shape the way they use their resources? How can schools learn from each other and adapt sustainability policies that work?"

“Linking campus sustainability efforts with endowment investment policies is important,” he added, “because it assures a unified sustainability vision for the institution.”

Written by John-Paul Maxfield

John-Paul Maxfield is the founder of Waste Farmers. Waste Farmers is a next generation sustainable agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet current and future food demands, while decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The Company started in 2009 with $9,000 and a belief that idealism and capitalism can coexist. Today Waste Farmers has evolved into an innovator respected by leaders in the global community for developing simple solutions to the complex problems of modern agriculture and food security. Prior to starting Waste Farmers, John-Paul founded the "The Inspired Economist", a blog focused on covering the people, places, ideas, and technologies inspiring positive change and redefining capitalism.
In addition, John-Paul served as an Associate a private equity group specializing in small to mid cap service companies. In this capacity he focused on planning, forecasting, budgeting, and performance evaluation of MBH and its designated subsidiaries. Prior to joining MBH, John-Paul was an Analyst with Alvarez and Marsal where he spent the majority of his time on a team that aided Louisiana’s Recovery School District with the restoration of public schools post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

John-Paul is active in the Colorado community, serving on the Board of the Rocky Mountain MS Center. In 2007 he was selected as one of the “Fifty for the Future” by the Colorado Statesman and is a graduate of the inaugural class of Impact Denver. John-Paul holds a BA from the University of Colorado.

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