Ithaca College Signs on to Presidents Climate Commitment

06/13/2007

Contributed by David Maley

President Peggy R. Williams is joining with other educators in committing to an effort to reduce and ultimately neutralize campus greenhouse gas emissions. Williams has become a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging to follow a set of timetables in pursuit of climate neutrality.

“Ithaca College has been a national leader in campus sustainability efforts,” said Williams. “In signing this commitment, we are taking another important step in addressing the human causes of global warming and in serving as a model for our students and society as a whole.”

The Presidents Climate Commitment is a joint effort of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), ecoAmerica and Second Nature. The signing statement acknowledges that there may be short-term challenges associated with the effort, but that it will ultimately result in significant economic, social and environmental benefits, including achieving energy independence for the U.S. as quickly as possible.

Under the commitment, Ithaca College will initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible. As part of the plan, the college will:

• Create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan.
• Complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting and air travel) and update the inventory every year.
• Develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral.

The college must also initiate tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gasses while the more comprehensive policy is being developed, and make the action plan, inventory and periodic progress reports publicly available by providing them to AASHE for posting and dissemination.

“I encourage other college and university presidents to join in this effort,” said Williams. “While the goal is ambitious, higher education institutions can and must lead the way in facing the critical challenge of global warming.”

Attending the signing ceremony were, left to right in photo: (seated) Nancy Pringle, vice president and college counsel; Susan Swensen, associate professor of biology; President Williams; Anjuli Kronheim ’08, intern with the Resource and Environmental Management Program; Mark Darling, supervisor of the Recyling and Resource Management Program; (standing) Susan Allen-Gil, associate professor of biology; Jim Malek, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; Rick Couture, associate vice president for facilities management; Lisa Paciulli, assistant professor of anthropology; Michael “Bodhi” Rogers, assistant professor of physics; Marian Brown, special assistant to the provost and vice president for academic affairs; Shelley Semmler, vice president for institutional advancement; Carl Sgrecci, vice president for finance and administration; and Mike McGreevey, executive assistant to the president.

For more information on Ithaca College’s sustainability efforts and achievements, visit http://www.ithaca.edu/sustainability/. For more information on the Presidents Climate Commitment, visit http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/.

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