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Baylor makes the grade in college sustainabilty report

Nov. 2, 2010

By Tj Jones

Baylor jumped to a spot as one of the top-ranked sustainability-oriented schools in the Big 12, according to the College Sustainability Report Card 2011.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute released the College Sustainability Report Card on Oct. 27, giving Baylor its highest grade ever.

Baylor earned a 'B' rating, an improvement over 2009's 'C' rating. The report card uses a plus and minus system, meaning Baylor jumped three grades from the previous year.

In 2007, Baylor had a D- grade, and a C- in 2008. This year's ranking puts Baylor third in the Big 12, only half a letter grade away from University of Colorado and University or Texas at Austin.

"It is a big deal for us because in a really short amount of time, a year and a half to two years, we have jumped to the top of the table. I look for us to stay there for a while," Smith Getterman, director of sustainability for Baylor University, said. "It will take a lot of work to maintain where we are, but we have one of the best-rated schools in the Big 12. We beat A&M and Texas Tech."

Getterman explained that this report card is one of the major ways Baylor judges its progress in terms of sustainability. There is no doubt that the university's efforts to maintain a green campus have paid off in this recent report.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute grades schools in nine different categories: administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, transportation, student involvement, endowment transparency, investment priorities and shareholder engagement.

Baylor did earn an 'A' in the administration, climate change and energy, green building and investment priorities categories.

"The 'B' on the green report card is awesome of Baylor," Saveage, Minn., senior Jessica Oen, sustainability department student assistant, said. "It only proves what we already know, that Baylor is becoming the leading mark in Big 12 sustainability. The significance of this shouldn't be underestimated. Baylor is doing great things for the environment as well as the community and leading the way for other universities to do the same."

Getterman made it clear this was not just an administrative effort; students played a large role in the achievement.

"I think this is a response to an increasing interest in this movement, this need and desire from our students. I think students are coming to college more educated on these issues and they are demanding change in these areas. And as a Christian institution Baylor recognizes how important it is for us to be leaders in caring for God's gift, and caring for the people around us."