Going green. Many organizations, large and small, regularly announce what they are doing to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases, how they are relying more on renewable energy sources and generally treating the natural environment a little more gently.
Add a higher-education consortium to the list.
More than 500 U.S. schools have joined to form the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. These schools represent all 50 states and together enroll more than 25 percent of college students in the country.
The ACUPCC wants to focus attention on global warming and push the research effort to find solutions. Its ultimate goal for member institutions is more than to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—they aim to actually achieve climate neutrality.
ACUPCC schools are “walking the talk,” according to a statement on its Web site. “The endeavor not only benefits students and staff, who will learn through the experience, but it helps each campus model solutions for the rest of society. In addition to creating an institution-wide action plan to move towards climate neutrality, schools are initiating two or more of the following concrete actions while the broader plan is being developed:
- Adopting green standards for buildings;
- Requiring ENERGY STAR certification for products purchased by the university;
- Offsetting emissions due to air travel;
- Encouraging public transportation;
- Purchasing energy from renewable sources;
- Supporting climate and sustainability shareholder proposals through their endowment; and
- Minimizing waste on campus.”
The ACUPCC views its task to be much broader than changing how its member schools have operated in the past. “The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic, and technological solutions to reverse global warming,” according to its Web site.
En route to implementing its plan and making progress toward the goal, the ACUPCC will make public reports available as part of its accountability.
Is Your School Going Green?
Are the schools you’re considering on board with this green initiative? Check out the list of signatories to find out!