FAIRFAX, VA - UNCF(United Negro College Fund) today announced that America's minority-serving institutions (MSIs)-colleges and universities whose student bodies include large percentages of Black, Hispanic and Native American students--have joined the drive for environmental sustainability and have taken steps to conserve resources and to encourage greater awareness of the fragile ecology of the interdependent world.
The findings are part of the Minority-Serving Institutions Green Report, a 2010 Campus Sustainability Survey developed by the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building and the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI).
The report and UNCF's Building Green Initiative are funded by the Kresge Foundation. Second Nature, an organization with expertise in advancing sustainability and green building with leaders in higher education, serves as thought partner for the initiative.
The UNCF report identified several highlights in its survey of campus sustainability practices:
§ Sixty percent of participating colleges and universities have green buildings up and running on campus or under construction.
§ Ninety-six percent recycle, with 71 percent recycling paper, 63 percent recycling aluminum, and 58 percent recycling cardboard.
§ Sixty-four percent of institutions with dining halls purchase local food, helping to reduce the carbon emissions associated with transporting food.
§ Fifty-two percent offer free transportation around campus, off campus or both.
"The UNCF Institute for Capacity Building's Building Green Initiative spreads the message that environmental sustainability is not only the right thing to do, but the economically smart thing," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF President and CEO. "Building green helps colleges cut operating costs, reduce waste and pollution and expand environmental sustainability practices. MSI budgets are always tight. But building green is not an expense; it is an investment in a better campus and a better world."
The Minority-Serving Institutions Green Report is based on survey responses received from August to October 2010.
Fifty-two colleges that had participated in UNCF's Building Green Learning Institutes in Atlanta, Minneapolis and San Antonio completed online surveys exploring sustainability initiatives in seven categories: Administration, Climate Change and Energy,Green Buildings, Recycling, Dining, Student Involvement and Transportation.
Fifty percent of invited schools responded to the survey reporting on sustainability initiatives, policies and programs existing or planned. In each category the report offers evidence of significant progress and the potential for even more.
Released in observance of Earth Day, a global effort to inspire stewardship for the natural environment, the report is designed to serve as a catalog of sustainability activities already underway at colleges and universities whose mission is educating historically underserved groups. It also serves as a campus sustainability guide for students, parents, school administrators and others, and as a resource for other institutions thinking of starting or improving their own campus-sustainability practices.
Overall, the results from this report highlight important progress. In most cases where sustainability efforts have lagged, it has been because of lack of resources.
Almost all participating schools said that funding would make the biggest difference in fulfilling their environmental interests. Institutions often view green building as an expense or a luxury that is unaffordable, rather than as an investment. And typically, green building construction costs are 1-2.5 percent higher than those for non-green buildings. However, investing in a green initiative pays medium-term returns that often amount to ten times the increased expenditure during the life-cycle of a building or renovation in saving on energy, water use and waste disposal.
UNCF launched its Building Green at MSIs Initiative in November of 2009 as a part of the Facilities and Infrastructure Enhancement Program (FIEP) through its Institute for CapacityBuilding. This program facilitates the green transformation of UNCF member institutions and that of other historically black, tribal and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities.
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