GW gets graded greener by Sustainable Endowments Institute

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An environmental group said GW is improving its sustainability efforts and named the University a campus leader for implementing “green” policies, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute, which surveys 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. with the largest endowments, gave GW a B in their annual “Green Report Card” – up from last year’s C+.

“It definitely was a big improvement from a C+ to a B,” said Sophie Waskow, the stakeholder engagement coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “Also, being recognized as a campus sustainability leader, which is just a sub-designation of their report card, which is for consistently high marks in the questions pertaining to campus sustainability.”

The report card gives universities letter grades for nine categories, six of which directly relate to sustainable initiatives. The rest pertain to endowment policies.

GW improved in six of the categories, the largest jump being in food and recycling policies, as well as student involvement and investment priorities.

“I am delighted by the progress the university has made in just two years,” University President Steven Knapp said in an e-mail. Knapp has made sustainability one of his priorities since beginning his tenure as University president two years ago.

“The visibility we are receiving for our efforts in this field is one of the many ways in which we are raising the university’s profile and contributing to the solution of national and global problems,” Knapp added.

Another reason for the rise in GW’s rankings was the addition of the Office of Sustainability last year, said Meghan Chapple-Brown, the office’s director.

Many offices at the University contributed to GW’s rise in the SEI’s rankings, including Facilities, the Procurement Department, the Investment Office, the Office of Real Estate and the office of Information Systems and Services, Chapple-Brown said.

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