Junior Elyssa Bairstow, USF's recycling outreach coordinator and a dual environmental sciences and education major, poses with a compost bin lid decorated to remind students what goes inside.
The University of San
has earned an A- on the latest College Sustainability Report Card.
USF continues to make steady progress, raising its grade
from 2010 when it earned a B+. The report card is the only independent
sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments in the
U.S. 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 bested other Bay Area schools, including University of
California, Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and St. Mary’s College, and
equaled Stanford University.
Among some notable programs and
improvements that contributed to USF’s grade were USF’s Garden Project,
the expansion of USF’s composting efforts beyond food services into some
residential dorms, efforts by the Green Team to make workplaces across campus more environmentally friendly, and the
university’s plans to make the new John Lo Schiavo, S.J., Center for Science and Innovation LEED Gold-Certified or better, said
Glenn Loomis, co-chair of the Green Team and USF director of community
The student club Net Impact also led a successful effort to convert water fountains on each floor of the
School of Business and Professional Studies to reusable water bottle refill
Several of the improvements over the last year were driven
by student initiatives, which also helped USF’s Green Report Card grade in the
student involvement category, Loomis said. More transparency and advocacy by
USF regarding its investments also improved over 2010.
One goal for the current year is to work with the Green
Team, Net Impact, and others to find strategies to decrease the reliance of
students, faculty, and staff on single-use plastic water bottles, Loomis said.
Single-use plastic water bottle production contributes about 17 million barrels
of oil and 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide in environmental pollution each
year, according to Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research group devoted to
creating a healthy, sustainable planet.
Brittany Rowles, president of the student
environmental and social justice club Back to da Roots, agreed that USF has
made strides in recent years. She hopes the university’s efforts will lead to
growing support from administrators for student-led efforts such as the one
underway by her club to require that only fair-trade bananas be sold on campus
to decrease USF’s negative environmental and social impacts. The campaign is
modeled on the club’s successful efforts in 2008 to require that only
fair-trade coffee be sold on campus, Rowles said.
Check out USF's full report card.