Investment & Finance

Introduction

Collectively, colleges and universities invest hundreds of billions of dollars. Like other decisions that institutions make, these investments have impacts that are both local and global in scope. Institutions with transparent and democratic investment processes promote accountability and engagement by the campus and community. By using the tools of sustainable investing, institutions can improve the long-term health of their endowments, encourage better corporate behavior, support innovation in sustainable products and services, support sustainability in their community, and help build a more just and sustainable financial system.

255 resources

Pack Forest at UW

  • University of Washington, Seattle (WA)

Pack Forest is a working forest and owned by the University of Washington. Located outside of Eatonville, Wash., the University of Washington’s Pack Forest began with the purchase of ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
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SUNY Polytechnic Institute Sustainability Path

  • State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (NY)

Solar PV and small wind turbine demonstration project funded by SUNY Small Grant Sustainability Fund

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
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Harnessing the Power of Solar

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The Science and Engineering Building 2 features solar panels on the outside to help power the building and provide shade during the hottest months.


Implementation Model: Tying Energy Costs to Building Occupants

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)
  • United States Department of Energy

UC Berkeley's Energy Management Initiative (EMI) targets building occupants through building surveys and energy dashboards, and allocates energy cost responsibility to individual campus operating units to achieve savings of ...


Building Community Investment at New York University

  • New York University (NY)

Anchor institutions – large non-profit organizations like colleges, universities, or hospitals that are tied to a place by infrastructure and mission – should be harnessed to positively affect the growth of the ...


Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)
  • University of San Francisco (CA)
  • Wesleyan University (CT)
  • Case Western Reserve University (OH)
  • Loyola University New Orleans (LA)
  • Fordham University (NY)
  • Duke University (NC)
  • American University (DC)
  • University of Chicago (IL)
  • University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • Responsible Endowments Coalition (PA)

This report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives ...


Rationale of early adopters of fossil fuel divestment

  • Lake Forest College (IL)

Purpose This research uses the social science perspectives of institutions, ecological modernization and social movements to analyze the rationale used by the early-adopting universities of fossil fuel divestment in the ...

  • Posted July 18, 2016
  • Publications
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Sustainabiliy Impact Fund

  • Northwestern University (IL)

This project is a student-led initiative to allow Northwestern alumni to donate to supporting sustainability initiatives on our campus. Titled the Sustainability Impact Fund, this initiative includes directed fundraising efforts ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Middlebury College's Innovative Land Conservation and Financing Project

  • Middlebury College (VT)

In 1915, a visionary Vermont environmentalist bequeathed to Middlebury College a large tract of land, located 12 miles from the main campus, part of which became home to the College ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Utility-Scale Solar Farm for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is proud of its sustainability initiatives, and Facilities & Services (F&S) is honored to support the campus wide Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP). The ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Union College's Presidential Green Grants: Empowering our community to make a more sustainable world

  • Union College - NY (NY)

Our greatest resource as an institution is the creativity and energy of our community. Union College’s Presidential Green Grant (PGG) program leverages this creativity and energy by supporting novel ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Institutional Framework for Student-Led Sustainability Initiatives

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (NE)

The Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) is a self-sustaining committee within the Association for Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN), otherwise known as UNL’s Student Government. The framework of ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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The Virginia Tech Green RFP Program

  • Virginia Tech (VA)

Student engagement is an important factor in advancing sustainability at Virginia Tech. The University created the “Request for Proposal for Sustainability Initiatives from Student Organizations Program (Green RFP Program)” to ...


Lowell Canal Bridges TIGER Grant: Campus-Community Partnerships Leveraging Transformative Change

  • University of Massachusetts Lowell (MA)

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a fast growing university nestled within our host community of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell enjoys an authentic urban character structured ...


Development of a Carbon Capital Methodology for use by the Higher Education Community

  • Ball State University (IN)

Over a multiyear period, Ball State University collaborated in the development and piloted the implementation of a new methodology by which colleges and universities can qualify their carbon reduction credits ...


The Green Action Fund at Kansas State University

  • Kansas State University (KS)

The Green Action Fund (GAF) at Kansas State University was initiated in 2013 as a joint project of the Office of Sustainability and the Student Governing Association (SGA). The GAF ...


Student Design Fund

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)

The Student Design/Research Project Fund is a new and innovative sustainability project from the University of Tennessee. It created a pool of money to where applicants can apply for ...


Green revolving funds: A sustainable investment

  • Sustainable Endowments Institute (MA)
  • College of Saint Benedict (MN)
  • University of Dayton (OH)
  • Blessed Earth (KY)
  • Saint John's University (MN)

There has recently been a groundswell of interest in sustainability in all its forms, and two organizations — Green Seminary Initiative and Seminary Stewardship Alliance — have emerged to provide resources and ...


LEED Certification of Campus Buildings - A Cost-Benefit Approach

This is the first comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings certified within the higher education sector. 16 institutions of higher education (IHEs) were surveyed ...

  • Posted April 14, 2016
  • Publications
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Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing: A Survey of Endowments and Their Affiliated Foundations

  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (DC)
  • National Association of College & University Business Officers (DC)

Commonfund Institute, NACUBO and AGB survey builds upon the 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments by delving in to responsible investing practices, policies and portfolio strategies. Topics covered include:

  • Defining responsible ...

  • Posted April 8, 2016
  • Publications
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Institutional Pathways to Fossil-Free Investing: Endowment Management in a Warming World

  • Responsible Endowments Coalition (PA)
  • Sustainable Endowments Institute (MA)

This report provides an analysis of climate-related portfolio risk faced by educational and philanthropic endowments and presents three pathways toward reallocating an endowment portfolio into fossil-free investment opportunities, across asset ...

  • Posted April 8, 2016
  • Publications
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The Reinvestment Handbook: Green Endowments Initiative

The Reinvestment Handbook is a resource for the next generation of responsible investors. It is designed to help students better understand their university endowment, the key pillars of SRI funds ...

  • Posted April 8, 2016
  • Publications
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Intentionally Designed Endowments Primer

  • Intentional Endowments Network (MA)

The Intentionally Designed Endowments Primer was developed to help endowment stakeholders establish a baseline understanding of the key issues related to aligning investment practices with institutional mission and values. It ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Publications
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Evaluating Campus Green Funds: Student Review of Campus Impacts

  • University of Houston (TX)
  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Motivated by the work of the Campus Green Fund Collaborative and its AASHE publication, How-To Guide: Campus Green Fund Implementation, the Office of Sustainability at the University of Texas at ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Student sustainability grants for research, scholarship, projects and travel at Ohio State

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

For the first time, Ohio State's sustainability offices are jointly managing a grants program for student projects in the areas of energy, environment and sustainability. The program helps to ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Launching a Student Sustainable Investing Advisory Committee: Successes and Challenges

  • Ohio University (OH)

In 2014, Ohio University established a new student group, the Sustainable Investing Advisory Committee (SIAC), with the financial backing of The Ohio University Foundation. The mission of SIAC is 'to ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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The Evolution of a Campus as a Living Lab Grant Program

  • California State University, Chancellor's Office (CA)

This session will introduce the California State University Campus as a Living Lab Initiative, the grant program designed to support sustainability in the curriculum. With two years of experience running ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Creating and maintaining a Student Managed Action Fund

  • University of Northern Colorado (CO)

A growing way to create and build sustainability projects on campus is to create a student fund. These are often managed by students themselves, yet despite the enthusiasm and innovative ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Investing in a Cooler Planet: the movement to divest colleges and universities from fossil fuels and reinvest in the new economy

  • Carleton College (MN)

Since 2011, when campaigns first started popping up at a handful of colleges, the fossil fuel divestment movement has exploded onto the college activism scene and beyond. There are currently ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Cashing in Carbon: Selling Carbon Reductions to Leverage Campus Sustainability

  • Boston University (MA)

This year, with momentum from the Chevy Campus Clean Energy Challenge, Boston University reached its 2020 goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. Through the robust Verified ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Intentionally Designed Endowments

  • Intentional Endowments Network (MA)

For decades the socially responsible investment community has puzzled over the fact that colleges and universities have not been more intentional in aligning their investment practices with their mission and ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Sustainability without sacrifice: How URIs are saving money & reducing GHG emissions by investing in energy efficiency

  • Sustainable Endowments Institute (MA)

Finding a way to prioritize and finance sustainability projects can be difficult for any institution, but may present a unique struggle at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and under-resourced institutions (URIs). To ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Finance 101: How can Campus Sustainability Officers and Business Officers Speak the Same Language?

  • Second Nature (MA)

Campus sustainability professionals must frequently build the business case for campus sustainability projects. While they are well versed in environmental issues, communication strategy, and other planning skills, greater knowledge of ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Taxing Campus Air Travel to Create a Climate Action Fund

  • Southern Oregon University (OR)

As carbon neutrality deadlines loom on the horizon, many universities are scrambling to find ways to reduce emissions to meet our goals. Reducing our carbon footprint can be difficult as ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Non-Profit Non-Starters? Using Creative Economic Levers on Campus

  • Colby College (ME)
  • Harvard University (MA)
  • University of Virginia (VA)

Financial limitations are often a primary barrier to sustainability implementation at colleges and universities. Often, universities share best practices, and occasionally lessons learned, but less frequently do they describe the ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Mass College Green: Alternative Financing for Energy Efficiency Upgrades

  • Dean College (MA)
  • GreenerU (MA)
  • Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (MA)

With tighter budgets, leaner staff, and many competing priorities, colleges and universities are finding it increasingly difficult to commit the funds necessary to support energy efficiency and deferred maintenance initiatives ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Lessons from Fossil Fuel Divestment at SF State and De Anza College

  • De Anza College (CA)
  • San Francisco State University (CA)

San Francisco State University, Foothill-De Anza Community College District in the Silicon Valley, recently became the first U.S. public colleges or universities to divest from fossil fuels. Students are ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Building the Business Case for Sustainability in Higher Education

  • Niagara College Canada (ON)

This concurrent workshop will provide an informative presentation and case study to help professionals communicate the benefits of sustainability projects that can satisfy economic, social and environmental criteria. The economic ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Students & Climate Change Intervention: Investment Office Insights

  • University of British Columbia (BC)
  • Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (NY)

Focused on campuses with the intention of mobilizing student activists, late in 2012 a "divest from fossil fuel" campaign was begun. Most faith and values-driven institutional investors were attentive to ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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We Got Our Campus Green Fund! But How Do We Actually Spend It?

  • George Mason University (VA)

In 2011, George Mason University launched the Patriot Green Fund (PGF). With an annual budget of $100,000 to support student-driven, sustainability-related research and infrastructure improvement projects at Mason, the ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Developing Green Revolving Funds to Reduce Environmental Footprint

  • Sustainable Endowments Institute (MA)

This discussion will explore how students have created green revolving funds on their campuses and the tips and tricks they suggest to other students that are interesting in creating such ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Green Fund Programs: Implementation and Improvement

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

This will be an interactive networking workshop that will allow various campuses to check in and see how other schools are running their Green Fund Programs. We want this to ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Leveraging Student Fees to Facilitate Student Led Initiatives

  • University of North Carolina, Asheville (NC)

In 2007, the University of North Carolina at Asheville instituted a $20/semester student green fee to create a sustainability fund, and created the Student Environmental Center (SEC), a student-led ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Green Energy Fee Grant Program: Making campus more sustainable - one project at a time

  • Western Washington University (WA)

The Green Energy Fee Grant Program is a Western Washington University grant program that enables the campus community to apply for funding to implement sustainable initiatives on campus. The Green ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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What Are We Advancing? Advancing Sustainability in Higher Education: Integration of the University and College Development Office

  • California Polytechnic State University (CA)

The pressing need to develop more financially, environmentally and socially sustainable institutions creates an opportunity to advance the next philanthropic era in higher education – one that promotes a more comprehensive ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Sponsored Theater Presentation: Sterling Planet

  • Sterling Planet, Inc. (GA)

Even with recent impressive gains in energy efficiency on college campuses, there is still significant room for improvement. At issue is how to implement energy conservation and load management measures ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Student sustainability grants for campus projects at Ohio State

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

All across America, institutions struggle to expand programming and to provide meaningful learning opportunities to their students during times of shrinking budgets, increasing costs and reduction of state support. Oftentimes ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Connecting Academic Work with Funds to Address Campus Sustainability

  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs (CO)

In order to educate future sustainability leaders we must bridge the academic operational divide by connecting student coursework with funding to address real campus sustainability projects. We must begin to ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Green Fund Implementation Guide- Campus Green Fund Collaborative

  • Butler University (IN)
  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)
  • McGill University (QC)
  • Northern Arizona University (AZ)
  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)
  • University of Vermont (VT)

The Campus Green Fund Collaborative (CGFC) is a non-registered group of campus sustainability staff involved with coordinating and managing green funds on their respective campuses. In partnership with the Association ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Growing Student-led Movement for Climate Justice

  • Brandeis University (MA)
  • Unity College (ME)
  • Responsible Endowments Coalition (PA)
  • Green Century Capital Management (WI)

Launched on just a handful of campuses in 2011, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign has expanded exponentially in just a few short months - escalating the demand for bold climate action ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2016
  • Conference Presentations
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This tab provides access to data collected through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS enables meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community. Additional content and advanced benchmarking tools will be added to this tab over time.

Programs and Initiatives

The following links connect to specific Content Displays on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Scores

The following link connects to the Score Display on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Investment & Finance Partners