You could call it a new playing field. The Sustainable Endowments Institute is now tracking the environment practices at some 300 universities and colleges across the country. Here in Los Angeles, the two largest schools just make fair grades with the University of California, Los Angeles edging out rival USC with a B- compared to a C+.
UCLA gets an A in Food and Recycling because it spends 20 percent of its food budget on locally grown food. It also gets a top grade in the commitment of its administration to focusing on sustainable practices. It gets an F, however, in getting shareholders of the UCLA Foundation involved in these practices. And it only rates a C in getting students involved in greening the school.
USC got its highest grade, an A, for its investment practices, putting its money in renewable energy. But it got a D in terms of student involvement.
Both schools got a B in encouraging new campus buildings are green buildings.
The school with the best marks in the Los Angeles area is the California Institute of Technology. It got an overall B with the grade of A in Food and Recycling, Green Building and Investment Priorities. Caltech not only purchases 60 percent of its food from local sources, it also has on-campus gardens that provide produce to the main cafeteria.
If you want to find out how your school did, go to the Sustainable Endowments Institute's College Sustainability Report Card: http://www.greenreportcard.org/