Despite the increasing attention that is being given to tracking sustainability efforts at colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions (MSIs) have been virtually omitted—until now. The Minority-Serving Institutions Green Report, produced by UNCF Building Green Initiative and the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), has catalogued sustainability activity, budding and well underway, at 52 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges across the country.
The report addresses seven essential areas of college sustainability: administration, green building, climate change and energy, recycling, dining, student involvement, and transportation. It includes a trend watch of 40 environmental initiatives that MSIs have undertaken, noting which programs are widespread and which have only been adopted by a few schools. It also highlights specific MSIs that are sustainability leaders among their peers. Detailed profiles of all 52 schools, with information about their environmental accomplishments, are available online.
Among common initiatives that MSIs are undertaking to make their campuses more environmentally friendly, the report notes that 60 percent of respondent schools have green buildings on campus or under construction; half offer free transportation around campus or to off-campus destinations; and nearly half have removed trays from dining halls. Rarer efforts, that only a few schools have implemented, include seeking LEED certification for green buildings (six percent) and composting food scraps (seven percent).
A number of schools were consistently leading among MSIs in their sustainability efforts. The report spotlights eight of these schools: Delaware State University, College of the Menominee Nation, the University of Guam, Hampton University, Howard University, the University of Texas–Pan American, the University of Texas–San Antonio, and Spelman College. The leading schools boast unique, extensive, and innovative initiatives to reduce their environmental footprints. These programs include UOG’s plans for a carbon-neutral building; UTSA’s 36 buildings that meet LEED criteria; Spelman’s campus fleet with 19 hybrid cars; and Menominee’s student-run, fair-trade coffee shop that composts all organic waste.
The Building Green Initiative is a project of the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building’s Facilities and Infrastructure Enhancement Program. The initiative, funded by the Kresge Foundation, hosts Building Green Learning Institutes—workshops that assist MSIs with financing green building, installing efficient and renewable energy technologies, and incorporating sustainability into academic offerings.