UVM touted as leader in sustainability

Students, faculty and staff of UVM can now officially re?fer to the University as a sustainable, green establishment. The Sustainable Endowments Institute voted the University of Vermont as one of the top six sustainable college leaders out of 200 in the U.S. and Canada in their 2008 College Sustainability Report Card. According to their Web site, the Institute is, “… a nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in cam?pus operations and endowment practices.” Based on the evaluation of eight categories (Administration, Climate Change and Energy, Food and Recycling, Green Buildings, Transportation, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities and Shareholder Engagement) the Institute administers an overall grade to each school that submits data. Besides the University of Vermont, top sustainability leaders included Carleton College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Middlebury College and the University of Washington. UVM earned such high scores (A- overall) because it has such efficient transportation methods, according to http://www.InsideHigherEd.com. The data submitted by the school stated that UVM has used biodiesel on all buses since 2002, and six out of ten buses have been modified to run on all natural gas. In addition, the Sustainable Endowments Institute gave UVM an A in the Green Buildings category, since all new renovations and construction must be LEED-certified. It also gave UVM an ‘A’ in Food and Recycling because it purchases 30 percent of it’s food from Vermont and 35 percent of waste is diverted from the landfill, according to the Institute’s Report Card statistics. UVM Environmental Coordinator Gioia Thompson was recognized for her full-time dedication to the University’s sustainability projects, as well. Thompson clarified that the University did not appear on the Institute’s list last year because they only looked at the top 100 greatest endowments, rather than a spectrum of various categories. According to http://www.InsideHigherEd.com, Thompson explained that despite the award, the school still has a long way to go to reach its goals for a greener institution. UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel agreed. “It is gratifying when the lived-out values of our community are recognized in this way,” he said, “but we want to be clear that we have a great deal more to do to achieve carbon neutrality and to make all of our institutional practices and operations the kind of model we would like them to be.”