Notre Dame received a B+ on this year’s College Sustainability Report Card, improving over last year’s B. The higher grade came in response to a continued reduction in the University’s carbon emissions and resource-saving programs spearheaded by a number of campus departments.
“This is a welcome recognition of the progress we have made and the direction in which we are headed,” said John Affleck-Graves, Notre Dame’s executive vice president. “This accomplishment would not be possible without the active participation of our students, faculty, and staff. The everyday choices they make to conserve, recycle, and purchase responsibly really do add up.”
Notre Dame’s carbon emissions declined 8% from 2008-09 to 2009-10, and a total of 16% since 2006-07. This improvement is due in large part to the Energy Conservation Measures program, the Temperature Set-Point Policy, and increased participation in sustainability education and outreach programs.
The Report Card cited several advances made this past year, including the LEED Gold certification of Geddes Hall and Ryan Hall and the introduction of the Zipcar car-sharing program. The University also received an A on Food and Recycling for the first time, owing to ongoing efforts by Food Services to expand local and organic food sourcing and recycling efforts.
Notre Dame received an A in Student Involvement for the third year in a row, a testament to the dedication of student leaders in GreeND and Students for Environmental Action. “Student involvement is critical to the progress any university makes toward sustainability. Notre Dame students truly understand the global impact of their actions and are passionate about making a difference,” said Heather Tonk, Notre Dame’s Director of Sustainability.
The Report Card is an independent sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments. Published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, it assesses 300 public and private colleges and universities with the largest endowments each year.