Campus Receives Highest Green Grade

It’s official — UCSD is one of the country’s 26 greenest universities.

The College Sustainability Report Card, an organization that rates college sustainability levels, gave UCSD an ‘A-’ — the highest grade awarded in the nation — on its annual “Green Report Card.”

Harvard, Brown, Yale and Stanford all received this rating.

Of the five UC campuses surveyed — UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Merced and UCSD — UCSD received the highest overall grade.

The goal of the Green Report Card project is to showcase universities that excel in sustainability, according to the organization’s Web site, www.greenreportcard.org. The organization hopes that by providing information on these schools, other institutions can learn by example and implement their own programs aimed at increasing sustainability.

The site ranked each school in nine categories – such as transportation and recycling – with a letter grade, adding up to an overall score.

This is the second year UCSD has been evaluated by Green Report Card. Last year, the campus received a ‘B+.’ UCSD raised its score to an ‘A-’ by raising its Food and Recycling sub-grade from a ‘B’ to an ‘A.’

The dining hall’s use of fair trade — produce and products purchased at a price fair to exporters in developing countries — and organic foods factored into the grade increase. UCSD Housing and Dining purchases fair trade coffee, chocolate, sugar and tea.

“We have been planning with the administration to get our university to be the second college in the nation to receive fair trade certification,” Sixth College senior Fran Avendano said.

Avendano is a co-founder of the Student Sustainabilty Collective.

A UCSD Sustainability Resource Center will open next month. The center will be funded by $150,000 in student fees allocated by Associated Students last year.

“We’re a coalition of student groups on campus working on these issues such as compost, transportation and fair trade,” Avendaño said. “It’s a new trend of sustainability on campus. Before our efforts were very disunified, but now our efforts are centralizing and we have this center that will really accelerate sustainability efforts from now on.”

Other areas in which the campus excelled included Climate Change and Energy, Administration and Transportation.

UCSD is striving to achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2020 by focusing on projects aimed at reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. UCSD also utilizes hybrid vehicles throughout campus and encourages carpooling.

Categories where the campus scored lower include Green Building, Endowment Transparency and Investment Priorities, which received a ‘B,’ ‘B’ and ‘C,’ respectively. While UCSD does employ certain green practices in its buildings — such as utilizing low-flow sinks, toilets and showerheads throughout the campus — it only has two buildings that hold up to the standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an organization established by the U.S. Green Building Council to set standards for green buildings.

UCSD focuses none endowment on programs such as renewable energy, but rather on investments aimed at making a profit. UCSD has the most room for improvement in this area, as more than 40 percent of schools invest a portion of their endowment in renewable energy, according to Green Report Card.

“I certainly think that for us to truly work towards reversing and finding solutions to climate change we need to work on everything,” Campus Sustainability Coordinator Maggie Souder said. “That being said, I think we’re definitely doing better with green buildings now and I think we’re going to keep improving. The university is working on becoming more transparent with the investments as well.”

To view UCSD’s green report card in its entirety, visit www.greenreportcard.com.

Readers can contact Ayelet Bitton at [email protected].

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal