CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been designated a “Campus Sustainability Leader” by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which has announced the results of its annual sustainability report card.
This is the fourth consecutive year that OSU has achieved that designation, raising its overall score each year. The Sustainable Endowments Institute’s 2011 Report Card has profiles for 322 institutions, based on 1,100 survey responses. The surveys looked at different areas, including overall campus sustainability, dining services, and student involvement.
The university got top marks for its student involvement, green building practices, administrative policies, operations, transportation initiatives and investment priorities, according to Brandon Trelstad, the university’s sustainability coordinator.
“As a university, we are showing new ways to become more sustainable and meet the institute’s high standards – even as those standards become increasingly more rigorous,” Trelstad said. “OSU showed remarkable improvement this year in our investment-related activities, which is a direct result of efforts by the OSU Foundation.
“And student involvement continues to be instrumental in all of the university’s sustainability-related success,” he added.
In 2007, OSU students voted to impose upon themselves a fee of $8.50 per student each term to purchase renewable energy for the campus. Since then, about three-fourths of OSU’s renewable electricity has come from renewable production and OSU has been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of America’s top five campuses for use and management of “green” power. The university also is EPA’s seventh largest purchaser of green power.
Student interest in sustainability issues continues. In February of 2009, OSU became one of the first universities in the country to harness the energy of its students, staff and faculty by hooking up the elliptical machines to create power and return it to the grid.
“Our ultimate goal with the exercise machines is to both generate power and provide learning opportunities for our students, who clearly care about renewable energy,” Trelstad said.
The university also brought on line its new $55 million energy center, which is capable of burning renewable fuels and replaces a decades-old steam plant.
OSU has received widespread recognition for its sustainability efforts, including these citations:
- OSU is the Pacific-10 Conference leader over the last two years in purchasing “green power” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- The Sierra Club ranked OSU as a “Cool School” for its sustainability efforts, ranking it No. 1 in the state and No. 24 in the nation;
- Kaplan’s College Guide lists OSU as one of the nation’s top 25 “Green Colleges”;
- In 2008, Country Home magazine listed Corvallis as the greenest city in America, primarily because of the OSU’s presence and collaboration with the city on sustainability initiatives.