Green is the Thing

The University of San Francisco is on the up and up when it comes to “living green,” earning an overall “B+” on the College Sustainability Report Card.

In results released Oct. 7, USF substantially raised its average “C” grade from 2009. Just last month, USF received an “A” from the report card in the dining services and recycle programs category, released before the overall scores.

The report card is the only independent sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments in the United States. Published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, it assesses more than 300 public and private colleges and universities with the largest endowments.

USF beat out other top Bay Area schools, earning “A”s in six out of nine categories measured by the report card.

“I was very pleased with the progress that we made in the past year,” said Glenn Loomis, USF director of community relations and Green Team Committee chair.

Loomis attributed USF’s better overall grade to several new initiatives since the report card was last released. Chief among them, in terms of showing that USF’s commitment goes to the very top, was the signing by USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment as well as his signing of the Talloires Declaration, a declaration for sustainability created for and by presidents of institutions of higher learning.

In the past year, USF also completed a campus wide carbon inventory, negotiated a deal with Zipcar to locate at the university and for reduced car rental rates of USF students, faculty, and staff, and brought 500 kilowatts of photovoltaic power on line from five building rooftops.

“In the year ahead, we want to focus on increasing student participation in sustainable efforts and programs,” said Loomis, noting one of the areas singled out for improvement by the report card.

Among USF’s sustainable programs with active student engagement are the Garden Project and Back to da Roots club, focusing on urban design and gardening and promoting the sale of fair trade coffee on campus, respectively.

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