ND awarded ‘B’ sustainability grade
Madeline Buckley | Friday, October 9, 2009
The University is a grade greener this year.
The College Sustainability Report Card, a project of the Sustainable Endowments Institute that evaluates the environmental impact of national universities, awarded Notre Dame a B grade Wednesday, up from last year’s grade of B-.
The scoring is broken down into nine categories with a grade for each one. The overall score is the average grade from each area.
Notre Dame was given an A in Administration, Student Involvement and Investment priorities. The lowest categories were Shareholder Engagement, which received a C and Endowment transparency, which received a D.
The Report Card cites an increase in the use of “environmentally friendly paper products,” efforts of GreeND and the Office and Sustainability and the LEED-certification of many of the newer campus buildings as reasons for the University’s higher grade.
The D grade is because the University does not have a public list of holdings and the shareholder voting record is kept private, according to the site.
University Sustainability Programs Coordinator Erin Hafner said she believes Notre Dame’s commitment to purchasing paper products that have been recycled was a large part of the higher grade awarded this year.
“Through a collaboration with Office Depot’s corporate sustainability program, Notre Dame’s Procurement Services and the Office of Sustainability, the University was able to realize a 70 percent increase in purchases of recycled-content paper,” she said.
Hafner said the University also decreased the demand for electricity on campus, the result of a University project that increased heating and cooling efficiency in 24 buildings across campus.
But she said student involvement was invaluable.
“Student initiatives like the CFL bulb exchanges and several energy awareness campaigns have contributed to behavioral change as well,” Hafner said.
She said the University has also reduced carbon emissions by 7.5 percent this year. A large part of the decrease is due to a push to use LED lighting on campus.
The University’s grade in the College Sustainability Report Card rose for the third straight year, according to a University press release. Last year’s B- was an improvement on the D- grade the University received in 2007, one of the lowest the report card awarded.
Hafner said the Office of Sustainability is always working to improve the environmental impact of the University.
“The Office of Sustainability will continue to focus on campus energy use and energy efficiency projects,” she said.