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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA green grades average

Sustainability grades are in, and the UA earned a “”B.””

The College Sustainability Report Card 2011 released by GreenReportCard.org last week rated the UA as only “”B”” material. The efforts of the UA and 321 other colleges to expand energy efficiency were graded in nine categories and averaged on a traditional 4.0 scale.

“”I think it is a fair assessment but it is not reflecting our current efforts toward sustainability,”” said Joe Abraham, sustainability coordinator of Student Affairs. Abraham said that although the report is labeled 2011, the information it was based on is from the 2009-10 academic year.

Since then, the UA has added numerous efforts to increase its energy efficiency and savings, including the opening of the Office of Sustainability last month.

“”Before the formation of the Office of Sustainability, so many people were doing things around campus that were very disjointed so it was difficult to organize the information in any coherent way quickly in order to fulfill the requirements of the report card,”” said Jill Ramirez, coordinator of Sustainability Education in Residence Life.

The nine categories range from Administration to Transportation and the report explains the reasoning for the grade in each category.

The UA also received a cumulative “”B”” in last year’s report, but the grades earned in the individual categories have fluctuated since then. The university rose from a “”B”” to an “”A”” in Endowment Transparency and Green Building, and from a “”C”” to a “”B”” in Student Involvement.

“”Student involvement is definitely on the upswing,”” Abraham said.

The report mentioned student volunteers and recognized the efforts of two groups on campus that encourage environmental action on campus, Students for Sustainability and the UA Environmental Law Society.

In the categories of Administration and Investment Priorities, however, the UA fell from “”A’s”” to “”B’s.””

“”I think they expect you to have more going on every year,”” Abraham said. “”So when we went down a grade in one category, it’s hard to understand if it was because of us or because their goal posts are changing.””

Abraham said he expects a better grade in next year’s report, regardless.

“”Without a doubt we are looking to increase our grade,”” Abraham said. “”Just last month we established a new Presidential Advisory Council on Environmental Sustainability, a UA-wide office of sustainability, and a student-led Green Fund Committee.””

Ramirez also expects a better grade due to the creation of the Advisory Council and increased student involvement.

“”The more ideas we have and the more passion we have the better our program will be. Ratings or not, we are doing a lot,”” Ramirez said. “”It’s the students really that drive everything that we do and I am so grateful for that.””

ASU was one of the 45 schools surveyed to receive an “”A-“” rating, while seven others received the highest cumulative grade of an “”A.””

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