The University of Maryland, College Park receives Second Nature’s 2nd Annual Climate Leadership Award. Award recipients were recognized at the 5th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Summit in Washington, DC on June 23rd, hosted by George Washington University.
After becoming a charter signatory of the ACUPCC in 2007, former University President Dan Mote convened a 55-member Climate Action Plan Work Group with broad student, faculty, and staff representation to develop the University’s plan for reaching carbon neutrality and enhancing educational and research activities. The University Senate and President approved the Climate Action Plan in 2009 and created a permanent University Sustainability Council to oversee implementation of the Plan and to advise the President (currently Wallace Loh) on sustainability issues. The Council also oversees the University Sustainability Fund, which this year provided $150,000 to nine projects that seek to reduce the environmental impact of the campus. The Council is chaired by the Vice President for Administration and has representation from all other Vice Presidents, students, faculty, and staff.
The University of Maryland has made great strides to address the mandates of the ACUPCC, including achieving significant GHG emissions reductions and integrating sustainability across the curriculum. Campus emissions decreased by 8.5% between 2005 and 2009 despite campus growth. Remarkably, emissions decreased 6.6% between 2008 and 2009 alone. The University is currently conducting its annual emissions inventory and expects a reduction of 40,352 MT-CO2e in 2010 due to the University’s purchase of 66,000 RECs, which represents a 14% reduction of the 2009 carbon footprint, this put Maryland #6 on the EPA Green Power Purchasers list. Successes in the area of emissions reductions and resource conservation inspired the new campus sustainability motto, “Terps leave small footprints.”