In the very first column I wrote for The Hatchet, I addressed the arguably disappointing grade GW received last year on its annual College Sustainability Report Card, or, “Green Report Card.” In contrast with GW’s previous grade, the University has made laudable improvements in the area of sustainability, but needs to address two lingering problems.
According to The College Sustainability Report Card’s Web site, GW received a B in overall efforts, an entire grade higher than last year’s C+. We share this year’s grade with our neighbors at Georgetown and American University, but GW now has the distinction of being a Campus Sustainability Leader.
The report card broke down the grades in a number of categories. In the areas of administration, student involvement and transportation, GW received A’s. With the formation of the Office of Sustainability in 2008, the hiring of a sustainability director in 2009, the prominence of such student organizationss as Green GW and the community’s reliance on 4-RIDE and the Metro, the University’s more extensive efforts are finally being recognized.
Yet the University failed in areas relating to endowment transparency and shareholder engagement. Unless GW specifically addresses these areas of concern, our report card will constantly be plagued by these low marks. Publicizing a list of endowment holdings and shareholder voter records, as well as forming a shareholder committee to address sustainability for the University are just some steps GW can take to improve the F’s we received in these categories yet again.
As a freshman, I urged the University to take such steps so as to improve the overall sustainability grade. While a B is a major improvement from last year’s C+, and the University is becoming a leader in the area of campus sustainability, I see no reason for GW’s overall grade to be constantly marred by two failures in relatively minor categories.