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By Barbara Koneval, Program Associate, Education & Training

Over 35 representatives from minority serving institutions including faculty, administration, facilities managers, students and deans gathered in Atlanta for a 2-day training presented by Second Nature and Clean Air Cool Planet, as part of the UNCF Building Green Initiative training Series, funded by the Kresge Foundation.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hunter Photography

The goal of the initiative is to build both the sustainability knowledge and capacity of minority serving college and universities and help them overcome barriers to building green and planning for carbon reductions on their campuses.

The first day of the workshop started with an introduction to greenhouse gas management. Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) led the training on the Campus Carbon Calculator™, a tool that’s been used by students, faculty and sustainability managers on over 1,000 campuses to measure their emissions on campus.

Jennifer Andrews and Claire Roby from CA-CP reviewed the basics of what a greenhouse gas inventory is, the

Photo Credit: Donnie Hunter Photography

steps in the process, how to collect data, what to expect and how to engage stakeholders on your campus in addition to providing cases studies from two schools that have used the calculator.   Participants ended the day by crunching real numbers and working with a set of data entering the information into the excel based tool. CA-CP reviewed the Projections and Solutions module of the calculator on the second day of the workshop including how to use these modules as a strategic planning tool to prioritize and understand the impacts of potential projects.

Day 2 of the workshop transitioned from the details of GHG Management to a review of the overall process of climate action planning.   Matt Williams from Auburn University and Bowen Close from Pomona College were the peer trainers for this portion of the workshop.  Matt and Bowen focused on the climate action planning process and case studies from their respective schools, the similarities and differences between Auburn as a large public institution and Pomona a smaller private college, and the common lessons learned from their experiences.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hunter Photography

The goals for the day were to have participants understand the key elements of a climate action plan and learn best practices from their peers on other campuses.  In addition, participants worked in teams to create a strategy and to-do list to take back to their campus.   Participants broke out into groups and discussed challenges, supports that are currently in place at their institution, objectives and next steps.

Participants walked away with new ideas and a clearer understanding of both GHG management and climate action planning. The workshop was an opportunity to learn new information, but to also connect with their peers, share ideas and build a network to provide each other with support as they begin this process.

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