Published: Oct. 7, 2009

The University of Colorado at Boulder is again ranked one of the top campuses in the nation for sustainability by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

CU-Boulder today earned an "A-" grade, the highest grade given, on the institute's College Sustainability Report Card 2010, and was named an "Overall College Sustainability Leader" for the second year in a row. CU-Boulder was the only Colorado school represented among the 26 campuses that made the leader category.

The annual report card is considered one of the nation's most credible because it is the only independent sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments. The project also has the highest response rate of any college sustainability ranking or rating, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

"Coming on the heels of our ranking by Sierra magazine as the No. 1 green university in the nation, this ranking makes a strong case for CU-Boulder's national leadership in sustainability," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "When a university combines faculty, staff, student and administrative commitments to the environment, as we at CU-Boulder have for nearly six decades, the results are unprecedented."

The rating was based on an independent review by the Sustainable Endowments Institute and responses by CU-Boulder officials to 120 questions assessing sustainability in the categories of administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, transportation, student involvement, endowment transparency and shareholder engagement and investment priorities.

Participants received both individual grades in each of the nine categories and an overall grade calculated by averaging the individual grades on a 4.0 scale.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute this year is providing online public access to the survey responses. More than 95 percent of participating institutions, including CU-Boulder, agreed to this move.

"We are proud of our record and will share it with anyone," said Dave Newport, director of CU's Environmental Center. "Coming so soon after the Sierra magazine No. 1 ranking, it's heartening that our sustainability profile is viewed positively by both the environmental community and the investment community. The SEI ranking affirms that we are not just good stewards of the environment, but that we are practicing sound financial and investment practices too."

The report card Web site features a tool to compare up to 10 schools at a time and an interactive map of the findings for prospective college students interested in assessing a school's commitment to the environment, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

CU-Boulder has a long history of groundbreaking environmental efforts starting in 1951 with the offering of an academic major in conservation education. Other milestones include the first collegiate recycling program, the founding of the Environmental Center, student-negotiated prepaid bus passes, student-purchased wind energy credits and the recent rollout of an aggressive three-year conservation campaign under the direction of DiStefano.

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