At the College Sustainability Report Card website, Butler received an overall grade of 'D' and we received no specific grade over a 'C.'
This is an independent organization that reviews university sustainability in terms of "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." It becomes clear that an important aspect of this is environmental concerns; categories include Climate Change and Energy, Green Building and Food and Recycling. Clearly our failing grade is not something to be proud of. I encourage you browse this report, and compare Butler to other Indiana institutions (like Purdue University, which received a 'B+').
I discuss this to make a larger point. The language in our statement of purpose is strong and some might worry that individual instances (like those surrounding the True BU posts) do not involved large enough groups or are too specific to elicit broad response. This kind of thinking leads to situations where university administrators run amok and begin to rule an institution from the top down. Further, if we were to accept this near-apathetic logic, how could we react to the discovery of failing reports like the one posted above? I am unsure when this report was released, but I doubt that Butler publicized it, especially to students and donators. With the situation as it is, the administration would have no reason to and it is easier for administrators to control the university if their failings are kept quiet.
I should add specifically that the Student Involvement grade was a 'D.' Is this a sign of a student body with a role in making the university? Our ability to exercise a meaningful voice here goes beyond our present niches into the realm of sustainability for the future. This failing environmental report is not an issue for LAS or JCFA or for ECO, but for the student body and university community at large. While this grade falls on our shoulders, I do not think the university is fostering an environment to engender such involvement. This is terribly troublesome.
One final note on this report: There are two sections of special interest to the Underground, Endowment Transparency and Shareholder Engagement. The former grades institutions in terms of "free flow of information" with respect to the endowment ($163 million as of 2007 for Butler). The latter determines how responsibly the university is investing money; most importantly by emphasizing humane and eco-friendly investment. In both of these sections Butler received an 'F.' Epic fail. There are no policies in place to make this information known to the public or Butler community. Not to become redundant but it seems we are, once again, left in the dark as far as Butler's spending and investment ethics are concerned.
The first section of the report sums up my concern best:
President Fong reaffirmed Butler University's commitment to environmental responsibility in a recent open letter to the university community. Butler has no policies relating to campus-wide sustainability initiatives.
It seems the president is all talk and no action, something which has concerned me with regards to Butler's image as a Liberal Arts institution as well. He offers friendly words which represent Butler as an idyllic place, but hidden within a painstaking Google search is a different reality. With no viable means of holding him accountable, why would we expect anything different? I urge you to address this report with Dr. Fong in his next open forum, if not sooner in an email. This report is unacceptable and if we can find no avenue at this time to address it, we must work to establish one.