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Pomona College Recognized as a Leader in College Sustainability

Drought-resistant plants in front of Pomona College's Smith Campus Center

Drought-resistant plants in front of Pomona College's Smith Campus Center

The Sol-Train solar rover

The Sol-Train provides portable solar energy for the Organic Farm and at events on campus.

Pomona College has been named one of the nation’s leaders in college campus sustainability policies and practices by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, released today.

Only 26 schools, from a pool of more than 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, received an average grade of “A-“ or better across the several categories to be recognized as an Overall Campus Sustainability Leader. The Institute focuses on policies and practices in Administration, Climate Change & Energy; Food & Recycling; Green Building; Student Involvement; Transportation; Endowment Transparency; Investment Priorities; and Shareholder Engagement.

Information for the 2010 Report Card was gathered through expanded surveys of campus operations, dining services, endowment investment practices and student activities at the campuses, designed to assess the existence and comprehensiveness of sustainability programs.

This year Pomona College received an “A” grade in every category, with the exceptions of Climate Change & Energy (B) and Endowment Transparency (C). This represented improvements in four categories since last year’s Report Card: Green Building, Student Involvement, Transportation, and Endowment Transparency.

Among the highlights cited by the Institute were:

  • Pomona’s completed greenhouse gas emissions survey;
  • policies requiring Energy Star-certified appliances and paper with at least 30% recycled content;
  • Dining Services policies on purchasing local produce, hormone and antibiotic-free milk and meat, and seafood meeting Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines;
  • construction standards that new construction meet LEED Silver criteria and that 95% of nonhazardous construction waste be diverted from landfills;
  • the student programs Clean Sweep/ReCoop, Food Rescue and Campus Climate Challenge;
  • the President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and its grants to student organizations; campus car-sharing and green bikes programs;
  • renewable energy investments; and
  • the advisory committee on proxy voting.

“This is wonderful recognition of the range and depth of sustainability programs and policies at Pomona College,” said Pomona President David Oxtoby on learning about the recognition. “We--our students, faculty, staff and trustees--are very committed to making the College a model of sustainable practices and a leader in finding creative ways to be better stewards of our natural resources. The mention of our individual student programs is great recognition of their achievements.”

According to Bowen Close, director of Pomona’s Sustainability Integration Office, the new expanded survey and open-ended questions were a great opportunity for Pomona. “We were provided with an outlet to describe efforts that don’t fit into a certification standard or some other common or trendy category. For instance, being able to describe that we’ve taken efficiency and other green building elements seriously when renovating our buildings, even though we didn’t pursue LEED certification, is key.

Now in its fourth year, the College Sustainability Report Card covers the colleges and universities with the 300 largest endowments in the United States and Canada, as well as 32 additional schools that applied for inclusion. The profiled schools have combined holdings representing more than $325 billion in endowment assets, or more than 95 percent of all university endowments. According to the Institute’s website, the aim is to provide accessible information for schools to learn from each other’s experiences and establish more effective sustainability policies. Complete survey responses are available online for every participating school.

To view Pomona College's complete report, visit the Green Report Card Web site.