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Oklahoma universities earn average grades for sustainability

Three Oklahoma's universities — Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa — earned average grades on an annual College Sustainability Report Card that was released Tuesday. The schools earned a C, B- and C, respectively.
BY DARLA SLIPKE Published: October 27, 2010

Oklahoma's largest universities earned average scores on an annual college sustainability report card released Tuesday.

Oklahoma State University earned a B-, a score that shows continued improvement during the past few years.

The University of Oklahoma earned a C, a score that shows no improvement.

The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma's only other school featured in the report, earned a C.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute surveyed 300 schools with the highest endowments, as well as 22 other schools that asked to be included. Schools were evaluated based on nine factors that include climate change and energy, green building and investment priorities. Scores were determined by public information and surveys that school officials and student groups submitted.

Fifty-two schools that earned an overall A or A- on the report are considered college sustainability leaders.

Overall, schools have shown significant improvement during the past five years, according to the report. The economy likely caused some schools to explore more energy-saving options this year, the report states.

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What Oklahoma schools are doing

Oklahoma State University: Buses are the only types of vehicles allowed on OSU's interior campus streets during weekdays. The university has a bike-sharing program and offers free public transportation for students, staff and faculty. About 85 percent of buildings have an energy management system to monitor energy use.

University of Oklahoma: About 15 percent of OU's annual food budget is spent on local products. OU donates extra food to local shelters. The university signed a contract with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to buy 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2013. More than one-third of campus vehicles use alternative fuel sources.

University of Tulsa: Tulsa has a bike-sharing program with about 350 bikes and a free shuttle service that is fueled by natural gas. Six student interns work on sustainable efforts each semester. About 5 percent of the university's food budget is spent on local items. The university is exploring ways to invest in renewable energy funds.

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