College and university campuses and endowment investments are getting greener by the year. The newly released College Sustainability Report Card 2009 shows that two-thirds of the 300 schools scored have improved their grades over 2007.
Issued Wednesday by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, the College Sustainability Report Card 2009 evaluates the schools with the 300 largest endowments in the United States and Canada with a combined total of nearly $400 billion.
The Sustainability Endowments Institute is a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge and funded by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It surveyed 300 universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada on their sustainability activities.
Grades were determined by assessing performance across 43 indicators in nine main categories. Each school received a copy of its profile for fact checking before grades were determined and the report card was published.
With "A-" as the highest overall grade earned, only 15 schools reached that level and qualified as College Sustainability Leaders.
By contrast, the average grade for all schools surveyed came to "C+," with more than 75 percent of colleges and universities earning sustainability grades in the "B" and "C" range.
The UW received a grade of A in six of the nine categories - administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, transportation and investment priorities.
In Canada, the University of British Columbia was the only school to earn the distinction.
Responding to interest from students applying to college, the GreenReportCard.org provides the first comprehensive college sustainability selection tool for high school students.
Sixty-three percent of 10,300 college applicants recently polled by the Princeton Review said that a college's commitment to the environment could affect their decision.
GreenReportCard.org users will be able to create side-by-side comparisons of schools, using a broad range of criteria, including athletic league, geographic region, and report card grade.