HWS Graded on Green – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Graded on Green

Hobart and William Smith Colleges were recently included in the green report card of the Sustainable Endowments Institute of Cambridge, Mass.  An article in the Finger Lakes Times notes that the Colleges were graded in eight areas: administration; climate change and energy; food and recycling; green buildings; student involvement; transportation; endowment transparency; and investment priorities.

HWS received an “A” in the area of investment priorities, where it was noted “The Colleges aim to optiminze investment in return and currently invest in renewable energy funds.”

A “B” was given in each of the areas of food and recycling, student involvment, and climate change and energy. Among attributes mentioned in these categories were the purchase of food from local resources, availability of the Green House theme house and Climate Task Force with which students can be involved, and the Finger Lakes Institute.

Catherine Williams, director of communications for the Colleges, is quoted in the article as saying, “I’m sure our grade will be higher next year as some of the things we’ve put in place this year show results.” She points to the hiring of James Landi as sustainable energy consultant, the new trolley that runs on biodiesel, increased composting of food from the Scandling Center and 70 more bicycles to the bike share program as just some of those initiatives.

The Colleges were given a C+ rating overall for green efforts that began just a year ago when President Mark D. Gearan signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The complete article appears below.

Finger Lakes Times
“HWS gets ‘C+’ on green evaluation”
DAVID L. SHAW • September 28, 2008

GENEVA –” Hobart and William Smith Colleges has received an overall grade of “C+” on its “green” report card.

The grade was issued by GreenReportCard.org, a Web site of the Sustainable Endowments Institute of Cambridge, Mass., a non-profit group founded in 2005 as a special project of the Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors.

“We’re pleased with that grade, considering we began this initiative a year ago when [Colleges president Mark Gearan) signed the climate commitment

at convocation,” said Catherine J. Williams, director of communications.

The college was graded in eight areas. Here are those marks and the positive efforts that contributed to them, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute :


Gearan signed the President’s Climate Commitment. The college has purchased Energy Star appliances and Green Seal-approved cleaning products. The Climate Commitment Task Force, consisting of administrators, students, faculty and staff, oversee the plan and implementation of all green initiatives.


The Finger Lakes Institute research facility uses solar, wind and geothermal technology to provide 85 percent of its total power. Overall, 5 to 6 percent of the campus’ energy use is derived from wind sources. The college completed an emissions inventory, and 2,500 traditional light bulbs have been replaced with fluorescent tubes.

Dining services purchases 18.5 percent of its food products from local sources, including a dairy. There is a reusable coffee mug discount program, and fair trade coffee is available. The recycling program has a 29 percent diversion rate. Excess food is donated to a local food bank.


New residence halls and academic buildings incorporate green furniture, materials and upholstery. Leadership in Energy Environmental Design-certified modifications are being planned as old buildings are renovated. Lighting upgrades have been completed.

Students interested in the environment may live in the Green House, where residents sponsor a composting project and energy campaigns. The Climate Task Force offers a paid internship position to students. The Campus Greens group sponsors a campus-wide competition called Caught Green Handed, where student can win prizes if caught recycling.


Students initiated a community program that lends bicycles for free. Buildings and grounds purchased two electric carts and students converted a campus truck to run on electricity.


The Colleges make a list of endowment holdings available to trustees, senior administrators and other select members of the school community through the investment office. They do not make shareholder voting records public.


The Colleges aim to optimize investment return and currently invest in renewable energy funds.

“I‘m sure our grade will be higher next year as some of the things we’ve put in place this year show results,” Williams said.

She said the Colleges hired James Landi in September to be its sustainable energy consultant. The Colleges have also purchased a trolley that runs on biodiesel fuel, is composting a ton of food from the Scandling Center a week and added 70 more bicycles to that program.

Some students are also working on an energy audit for city government, Williams said.

GreenReportCard.org was launched Sept. 24 and grades 300 leading universities and colleges based on data from the forthcoming College Sustainability Report Card 2009.