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CMC Receives B- on Green Report Card

October 26, 2009

by Wyatt MacKenzie
CMC Receives B- on Green Report Card

The College Sustainability Report Card recently released its 2010 report, upgrading CMC from a C to a B-.  The report scores schools on nine categories, of which CMC received an A in only two, Food & Recycling and Investment Priorities.  Food & Recycling should come as no surprise; Bon Appétit's self-righteous proclamations of environmental stewardship are hard to miss around the dining halls.   The second A is a little bit more of a surprise until you read the criteria for Investment Priorities-- weighed equally are community investment, renewable investment, and "optimizing returns."  That's right we get sustainability points for turning a profit (although the other two categories seem to run counter to it). CMC also rakes in three Bs, the explanations for which seem rooted in all the methodological rigor of a third grade science fair.  Key factoids include the distribution of sustainability information during orientation, the board of trustees' "Beliefs and Principles" document in support of a bike-friendly campus, our four buildings with low flow toilets (actually dual-flush toilets that seem to do high flow no matter which way you flip the handle), and the installation of Claremont Hall's insanely annoying ecofriendly lights.  You know, the ones half the dorm leaves on 18 hours a day because we hate waiting 15 minutes for them to warm up.

Then there are two Cs (Administration and Climate Change & Energy) and an F (Endowment Transparency).  God only knows what endowment transparency has to do with being green but a few random clicks couldn't find any schools with a score better than a C besides Mudd and frankly, who cares?  There's no explanation for the two Cs (the blurbs instead focus on the positive aspects, presumably to keep our spirits up) but they sound important so I knew what to do-- compare them to Pomona's scores!

Turns out Pomona got an A- overall (one of 26 nationwide) with a B in Administration and and A in Climate Change.  Torn between my fathomless apathy towards the environment and competitive instinct towards Pomona, I figured we had to at least be beating one of the five Cs.  Turns out we are!  Scripps got a C- overall, Mudd a B-, and Pitzer, no doubt driven to conceal the terrible secret of their environmental hypocrisy (or too high to fill out the forms) wasn't even listed.

Considering the report card's methodology I guess we can look forward to endless new "green" features that nobody actually wants or uses for the sake of climbing the rankings.

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