Making the green grade: SMU scores highest among DFW colleges

SMU has earned a “B” for its campus sustainability efforts, the highest score among DFW-area colleges and universities and a significant improvement over previous SMU scores.

The ranking was assigned by the College Sustainability Report Card, a comparative evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at 332 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the United States and in Canada.

> Watch Erin Hedrick’s winning 2010 Green Minute Video by clicking the YouTube screen or opening this link video

“We are really very pleased with this score,” said Michael Paul, SMU’s executive director of Facilities Management and Sustainability. “I think it reflects a serious and growing commitment here at every level to preserving the environment and our resources.”

Data collection for the College Sustainability Report Card 2011 took place from June through August 2010. The profiles of the schools were created using information gathered through independent research as well as through voluntary responses from school administrators and students. In total, 290 of the 300 schools (more than 96 percent) responded to at least one survey out of four that gathered information about sustainability in campus operations, dining services, endowment investment practices and student activities.

SMU’s “B” grade for 2011 is a significant increase from the “C+” score earned on its 2010 report card. Increasing the campus commitment to sustainability and raising awareness of green practices on the Hilltop is the mandate for the SMU Sustainability Committee, a group composed of faculty, staff and student members.

> Learn more about the College Sustainability Report Card

The University has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than 6 percent since 2005. Energy efficiency technologies, including economizers and high-efficiency motors, have been installed in many campus buildings. A demonstration photovoltaic array generates renewable energy, and SMU purchases some electricity from renewable sources.

SMU’s high marks also are attributed to such things as its commitment to LEED green building practices, aggressive recycling programs and waste reduction in campus dining services.

> Visit SMU’s Sustainability hub

Students have Oct. 8 deadline (and 60 seconds) for green challenge

Student with video cameraSMU students are urged to “Do One Thing” for green living on campus: create the best one-minute video promoting sustainability on the Hilltop. The University’s 2nd annual Green-Minute Video Contest, sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee, has a deadline of noon Oct. 8, 2010, for all entries.

The contest is an offshoot of the national “Do One Thing” campaign, created by advertising gurus Saatchi & Saatchi. The campaign encourages individuals to “live green” in one small way every day, such as biking to class or carrying reusable water bottles. Contest entries should be designed to kick off a “DOT” campaign at SMU and demonstrate how one person can make a difference, say the organizers.

“The contest seeks humor, quirkiness and imagination in a passion for fostering sustainability,” according to the Sustainability@SMU website. Only SMU students are eligible to enter, whether as individuals or teams. All videos must be G-rated and 60 seconds or shorter in length.

Winners of the 2010 contest will be premiered at the TEDxSMU event Oct. 16, as well as posted on the SMU homepage.

The Green-Minute Video Contest “is a good way to reinforce how easy and important it is to keep the campus green,” said Michael Paul, chair of the Campus Sustainability Committee and executive director of SMU Facilities Management and Sustainability. “We think students will be a lot more creative with this than we ever could, and we’ll use their videos to spread the message.”

> Find complete rules at the Sustainability@SMU website
> Watch the 2009 winners:

It’s easy being green: 2009 Campus Sustainability Day is Oct. 21

Sustainable SMUSMU students, faculty and staff will gather at the Flagpole at mid-day Oct. 21 for games, giveaways and green tips as the Hilltop celebrate the 7th annual national Campus Sustainability Day.

Members of the University’s Campus Sustainability Committee will moderate a game of Environmental Jeopardy, encourage students to sign a green pledge, and introduce the residence halls’ new team of E-representatives from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winners of the SMU Green Minute video competition will be announced at noon.

“SMU has a long list of sustainable practices on an institutional level that people just don’t know about,” says Campus Sustainability Chair Michael Paul. “We’d love for people to check out our website at to find out what we’re doing. And it’s also a good place to find tips for easy things that our community can do to keep SMU green.”

Campus Sustainability Day was founded in 2002 as part of the Society for College and University Planning‘s early efforts to support campus planning for sustainability. Several organizations now join with SCUP to support the event, including the Higher Education Associations’ Sustainability Consortium.

Read about the history of Campus Sustainability Day and see a list of organizations that have participated since 2003 at the Campus Sustainability Day website.

Visit the Sustainability @ SMU website