University improves green score

By Allie Mongan


The University’s College Sustainability Report Card grade has increased from a C- in 2008 to a B in 2011, according to

For the past four years the College Sustainability Report Card has been given to colleges and universities that try to make their campus more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient.

“A low grade is meant to draw the administration’s attention to the fact that they could be doing more,” said Rebecca Caine, senior research fellow for the Sustainable Endowment Institute.

The College Sustainability Report Card is a free service and schools are involved voluntarily. There are seven foundations and numerous individual donors that provide the financial resources to create the Report Cards.

The grades are based on a 4.0 grading scale and there are 52 indicators in nine categories that are assessed yearly. The University’s received four A’s for Climate Change and Energy, Food and Recycling, Student Involvement, and Investment Priorities; two B’s for Administration and Transportation; two C’s for Endowment Priorities and Shareholder Agreement; and one D for Green Building.

Currently 322 schools participate in the College Sustainability Report Card, representing all 50 of the United States and eight of the Canadian provinces. Of these schools, seven have earned an A average and 53 have earned A- averages.

“We took school size, geographic setting, student body size, amount of building space and endowment size into account to weight certain questions,” Caine said.

Each school is assessed according to four web-based surveys, completed by campus administrators and students, and pertains to campus operations, dining services, endowment investment practices and student activities.

As the vice president of the Environmental Club, Ali Blumenstock ’11 completed a University student survey in July. The Environmental Club runs Taylor House, an environmentally themed residence on campus, works on sustainability projects and has a waste reduction initiative.

“Having Bucknell more conscious of their sustainability and being more aware of energy saving methods is important and is just another way our school is keeping up with the other leading environmentally sustainable schools,” Brenna O’Neill ’12 said.

According to, the University’s highest grades were due to successfully reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent since 1998. The University aims to reduce them another 10 percent by 2015. The University also now spends 37 percent of the dining budget on local products and offer reusable take-out containers and mugs on dining places around campus. The reduced use of food trays and the installation of water-saving laundry machines and low-flow faucets and showerheads in some buildings has also reduced water usage.

The University shuttle system, new car-sharing program and Bison bikes have helped cut down traffic on campus, improving the transportation grade. The University also has a plan to increase the D grade in Green Building over the years to come by mandating all new major construction projects meet LEED building specifications.

LEED is a green building certification system that aims to make buildings more energy efficient and enhance energy performance. If the University is able to continue to improve sustainability and energy efficiency, it may find that this cuts cost without cutting campus services, as many other schools have discovered.

Full reports for all 322 schools are available on When compared to five other schools in the Patriot League, the University trails only American University, which received a B+ in the 2011 Report Card. Lafayette, Colgate and Holy Cross all also received B’s.

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