Making the grade

The University of Nevada, Reno earned a B+ on the annual College Sustainability Report Card. More than half of the 332 U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities evaluated earned a B- or better, with only 26 earning the highest grade of A-. (No school earned a straight A.) Conducted by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, the schools were evaluated on things like whether they had organic and sustainably produced food, their recycling program, green buildings, renewable energy usage and sustainable investment priorities.

For example, roughly 18 percent of UNR’s energy comes from renewable resources and a commercial producer turns the school’s cooking oil waste into biodiesel. UNR also recycled about 64,000 pounds of electronic waste in 2008, provides free city-to-campus bus service for faculty, staff and students, and offers discounted parking permits for carpools. The university was also recently awarded $951,500 from the Department of Energy to expand its recycling program and energy efficiency projects.

Some of the Western schools earning an A- include Stanford University, where a director of sustainability IT and bike coordinator are employed; the University of California-San Diego, which has committed to becoming climate neutral by 2020; and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where wind power supplies 45 percent of its electric energy. Read the full report at