Receiving a D- at Trinity University in San Antonio could instill the fear of flunking in any ambitious undergrad. But that's how low the school scored on last fall's College Sustainability Report Card, a comprehensive evaluation of campus operations and investments published by the academics, philanthropists, students, and financiers at the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
In less than a year, Trinity completed its first campus-wide audit of greenhouse-gas emissions, switched to printer paper with recycled content, and committed to using LEED standards for a new science building. It even ranked among the top five schools in the College and University Recycling Council's RecycleMania competition.
Enough already? Not for Trinity. The university also purchased wind energy to power 15 percent of its operations, signed the presidents' pledge, completed a LEED-certified building renovation, began offering organic food in dining halls, and banned all Styrofoam products from campus. Presidential Task Force on Sustainability chair Richard Reed says, "In light of the report, we acted very locally, very fast." —Michael Fox
This article has been corrected subsequent to publication.
Illustration by iStock/talshiar; used with permission.