Clarkson University Signs American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

Released: 20-Apr-2014 1:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Clarkson University
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Newswise — Clarkson University has become a signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Clarkson President Tony Collins signed the commitment April 17, sitting with Mitchell Thomashow, director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program, who is visiting Clarkson to speak on easy ways to make colleges more sustainable. Second Nature is the supporting organization of the ACUPCC.

ACUPCC is a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to better equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

"This is a commitment, which we do not take lightly," said Collins. "Before we agreed to sign the ACUPCC, we made sure that the systems were in place to enable us to live up to this agreement. We are able to do this because of our total commitment to being a green campus -- in our facilities, in the way that we operate, and in the research performed by our students, faculty and staff. Clarkson University is a learning and living environment where our students not only hear the talk, but they also walk the walk."

By signing the document, Clarkson has agreed to complete an emissions inventory; within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral; take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions; integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience; make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

“The colleges and universities that sign the ACUPCC demonstrate their willingness to commit to climate action planning and sustainability," says Thomashow. "As new scientific reports elaborate on the urgency of the climate challenge, this commitment takes on even more importance. The innovative research and teaching initiatives at Clarkson University’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment speak to the academic excellence of their interdisciplinary sustainability efforts. By signing the ACUPCC, Clarkson commits the entire institution to the campus-wide implementation of these efforts, and brings its superb expertise to the national climate action discussion.”

Clarkson already has a number of convention-defying environmental initiatives, including an innovative and integrated greenhouse to grow vegetables in cold climates, coupled with an anaerobic digester to convert food waste to energy; and two sustainability minors: sustainable energy systems engineering and sustainable solutions for the developing world.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Clarkson has also adopted green building policies, such as a commitment to meeting at least LEED Silver criteria on all current and future construction. In 2012, the new Student Center building achieved LEED Silver certification.

Thomashow will deliver a presentation titled "The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus" today, Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Forum (#13 on the map at http://www.clarkson.edu/about/clarkson_map.pdf ). The event is free and open to the public.

The mission of the ACUPCC is to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society.

Read more about the American College & University Presidents’ Climate at http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org .

Clarkson’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment sponsors workshops, seminars, and a small grants program, as well as undergraduate and graduate-level research experiences on a variety of projects around renewable energy, clean water, and air quality.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.


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