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>  News Releases >   2007 >   January

Dartmouth earns high marks for sustainability

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 01/26/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth has received a grade of A- for its efforts in endowment transparency and sustainability, a term that refers to environmentally sound activities. The grade was bestowed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Cambridge, Mass., organization involved in research and education on the sustainability of higher education endowments. The A- grade, the highest awarded, puts Dartmouth in the College Sustainability Leaders category with Harvard, Stanford, and Williams.

Green buildings
On the Sustainability Report Card, Dartmouth received good grades for embracing the tenets of "green" building for all new facilities, like the new McLaughlin Cluster of residence halls. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The institute issued a report card on Jan. 24 grading 100 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The schools chosen have the largest endowment funds in their respective countries.

The grades were based on how institutions manage their resources, both campus facilities and endowments, with an eye toward sustainable issues like energy efficiency, international trade, global poverty, and food safety. Dartmouth received an A in five of the seven categories: administration, food and recycling, green building, endowment transparency, and shareholder engagement. The category concerning climate change and energy earned a B grade, and investment priorities got a C.

The report card specifically highlighted Dartmouth's efforts to buy locally grown food to serve in campus dining facilities, and the new waste-free dining option for students. Dartmouth's Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility was also featured as a good way to engage and inform the Dartmouth community about investments.

"Their categories were interesting," says James Merkel, Dartmouth's Sustainability Director. "Areas like recycling, green building, and energy, are all places where campuses can make a difference and instill lifelong sustainability practices. These also reflect areas that students feel are important and empowered to contribute to."

David Russ, Dartmouth's Chief Investment Officer, was pleased with the grades, especially in endowment transparency and shareholder engagement. Dartmouth received a C for investment priorities, which includes investing in renewable energy funds and community development loan funds. Russ explained that the College weighed the benefits of investing in these areas against maximizing the value of the endowment. "We're also exploring some alternative energy funds," he says.

Read the full report.

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