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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

OSU's grade has improved each of the past three years, from a D+ to a B-.

Stephen McKeever, vice president for research and technology transfer, said the university has been taking a variety of steps to improve sustainability efforts and curb energy consumption. Initiatives include starting a farmer's market and encouraging students to use reusable cups at dining locations on campus. Sustainability coincides with OSU's land-grant mission, McKeever said.

This year marks the second consecutive year OU and Tulsa earned Cs on the report card.

In an e-mail statement, David Hamby, director of university relations at Tulsa, said the university strives to operate in a way that will help preserve resources for future generations. Any new construction work, including selection of materials and design, is done with a consideration for energy conservation, Hamby said.

Tulsa's grade had improved each year until this year. OU's grade dropped slightly from a C+ two years ago.


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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