Saturday, February 17, 2007

Is your school sustainable?

Posted By on 02.17.07 at 06:35 AM

Northwestern -- C+

University of Illinois -- C

University of Chicago -- D+

Notre Dame -- D-

Those are the grades just handed out to area schools by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its first annual College Sustainability Report Card. (SEI says it rated only the 100 schools with the biggest endowments, but can it be that Berea College in Kentucky has a bigger endowment than Loyola or DePaul?)

The overall grades are broken down into seven subjects:  administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, endowment transparency, investment priorities, and shareholder engagement.

Northwestern has committed to buy 20 percent of its electricity from wind power (climate), aims to make all new buildings LEED slver-certified (building), and has committed $2 million of its endowment to a firm that invests in alternative-energy technologies.

U. of I. has made sustainability a priority on all three campuses and will also be guided by LEED ratings when it builds or renovates anything costing more than $1 million.

Neither the University of Chicago nor Notre Dame received any grade above a C. Both institutions "prioritize investing to maximize profit," which is about what you'd expect from the U. of C., but I seem to recall vaguely that Notre Dame claims to answer to some entity higher than the dollar.


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