The university’s efforts to “go green’ in the past year have not been overlooked, as shown by an improved grade on The College Sustainability Report Card released at the end of October.
Issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, an organization which advocates and researches campus involvement in sustainability, the institute gave the university a B- for 2011, a full letter-grade improvement from the C- it received in 2010.
Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said the improved grade was likely influenced by the completion of construction and renovation of buildings meeting high sustainability standards.
The Mary Wright Admission Center and Scharbauer, Sherley and Milton Daniel Halls have all been recognized as “gold certified” buildings by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a system that sets standards for and grades sustainable design.
The report card is based on the university’s sustainable advancements in several categories, including administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement and endowment transparency.
In the 2010 report card, the university received a D in student involvement. For 2011, however, the university received an A.
Donovan said that are a lot of environmentally aware students on campus, and the university as a whole wants to find ways to get more students involved by making sustainability a part of the curriculum for both graduate and undergraduate students.
“We are trying to produce an educational experience in sustainability for every student on campus,” he said.
Sophomore writing major Rachel Spurrier said she was pleasantly surprised by the score.
“Go TCU, that they’re trying to stay environmentally conscious and that they’ve made some direct efforts to improve their score,” she said.
First-year English graduate student Josiah Clarke said even though he has not taken part in the university’s efforts to be sustainable, he is not disappointed.
“I support it without participating,” he said. “I like that it’s happening.”
Donovan said he expects the university’s scores to improve because TCU is committed to increasing sustainable efforts. Examples of these efforts include the university’s implementation of water conservation practices such as turning off sprinkler when it rains and planting groundcover, such as jasmine, which requires less water than grass.
The Sustainable Endowments Institute surveyed 322 colleges in the report, of which only 52 received a score of A- or higher.