Posts Tagged ‘Steering Committee’

By Timothy P. White, Chancellor of University of California, Riverside and Chair of the ACUPCC Steering Committee
(This article appears in the July, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Last month at the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit graciously hosted by American University, we released a special 5th anniversary report titled CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF CLIMATE LEADERSHIP:  The Progress & Promise of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This report shares the tremendous progress being made by the 677 signatories that make up the ACUPCC network. Congratulations for the remarkable progress to all involved. To share a few examples:
  • In the first 5 years the entire network has reduced gross greenhouse gas emission by 25%.  By 2022, they are projected to reduce over 50% of their gross emissions.  In contrast, world emissions have been growing 3% per year over that time, except in 2010 when it was a whopping 6%.
  • More than 30% of signatories have set a target climate neutrality date within 20 years.
  • About 200 signatory schools are offering 10,000 sustainability-focused courses.  60 schools offer professional development to all faculty for sustainability education
  • 156 signatory schools collectively are the third largest purchasers of renewable energy credits in the US – enough green power for 14,500 American households
  • 100 schools report receiving nearly $200 million in outside support because of their sustainability efforts
  • 110 schools report saving over $100 million as a result of climate action projects.

We are proud of these results.  This is unprecedented leadership by the ACUPCC network, and I both thank and congratulate you for your efforts.


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By David A. Caruso, President, Antioch University New England and Member, Higher Education Climate Adaption Committee and Abigail Abrash Walton, Assistant to the President for Sustainability and Social Justice, Antioch University New England
(This article appears in the December, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


As we sat down to write this article, we reflected on the climate change indicators we have witnessed right here in Keene, NH, where Antioch University New England (AUNE) is located.  The most noticeable of these is increased intensity and frequency of storm events.  Indeed, of the 15 largest flood events recorded in New Hampshire since 1934, eight have occurred in just the last five years.  These changes pose compelling challenges for our campus and surrounding communities and have motivated our faculty, students, staff, and community partners to begin to prepare for the risks of climate disruption and to pioneer new models of resiliency.

When the American College & University Presidents’ Commitment (ACUPCC) created a committee to develop a position paper on the role of higher education in climate adaptation, it was recognized that colleges and universities like ours have played a key role in efforts to prevent or mitigate global climate change.  In convening the group of climate experts and institutional leaders that formed the Higher Education Climate Adaptation Committee, the ACUPCC’s Steering Committee emphasized the importance for higher education of taking a new lead: preparing for and responding to impacts and implications of climate change that include unprecedented effects on infrastructure, ecosystems, energy & water supplies, food production, national security, and people’s livelihoods.

From the outset, Committee members adopted the perspective that the role of higher education institutions in climate change adaptation should cut across the three core functions of teaching, research, and community engagement.  The Committee also concluded that institutions must focus on both addressing climate risks to their own operations and engaging in a wide range of initiatives to help society adapt to climate disruption.  In both of these crucial areas, the Committee concluded that, while higher education institutions as a whole have not focused sufficiently on climate adaptation to date, their leadership is essential for successful climate change adaptation in the future. (more…)

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By Scott D. Miller, President, Bethany College
(This article appears in the September, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Financing has been identified as a key barrier to implementing sustainability projects on campus. The ACUPCC Financing Sustainability Committee has been meeting since January 2011 to address the lack of information about available financing resources and to discuss strategies to encourage the federal government, and other funding sources, to increase support to signatories for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

During the ACUPCC Steering Committee Meeting at the June 2011 Washington, D.C., Annual Summit, two central, specific goals around financing were affirmed: 1) To help a specified percentage of the higher education community reduce on-campus energy consumption by 50% and achieve 100% renewable energy use within a decade; and 2) to move colleges and universities away from the notion that efficient and renewable energy projects have to pay for themselves—rather, we urge our fellow institutions to allocate funding for sustainability initiatives as part of their strategic planning process. A third goal is to develop resources on the ACUPCC website to enhance its effectiveness as a clearinghouse for information to identify and secure financing opportunities for sustainability initiatives.

In support of these goals, Second Nature and the ACUPCC are partnering with the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) to research and write a white paper that will underscore the importance of higher education as a unique sector within the fabric of the nation’s economy. Colleges and universities in the United States educate more than 20 million students each year and play a critical role in the development of an educated and socially responsible workforce. In addition, institutions of higher learning are an integral part of the economic and cultural viability and strength of the communities in which they reside. Second Nature, the ACUPCC and NACUBO believe that by educating governments and business partners about the potential for progress on our campuses, we can help focus limited resources on sustainability initiatives with the biggest impact for all of society. (more…)

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President Barack Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu tour the Engineering Labs at Penn State University in State College, February 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Last week, in a speech delivered at Penn State University, President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative, which aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. This factsheet provides more details on the announcement. The Co-Chairs of the ACUPCC Steering Committee have issued the following statement in support of this initiative:

On February 3, 2011, President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative, which aims to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, reduce companies’ and business owners’ energy bills by about $40 billion per year, and save energy by reforming outdated incentives and challenging the private sector to act.

The initiative will also include the Better Buildings Challenge, which the White House describes in the following way:

The President is challenging CEOs and university presidents to make their organizations leaders in saving energy, which will save them money and improve productivity. Partners will commit to a series of actions to make their facilities more efficient. They will in turn become eligible for benefits including public recognition, technical assistance, and best-practices sharing through a network of peers.

As Steering Committee Co-Chairs of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, we welcome the Better Buildings Initiative and the Better Buildings Challenge.

The Better Buildings Initiative will help the country reduce emissions, save money and create jobs.  The 676 colleges and universities that are committed to pursuing climate neutrality through the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment are actively evaluating and undertaking projects to retrofit and build new buildings that are smarter, more effective and less wasteful.  This initiative will help bring more of these projects to reality more quickly.  In doing so, it will improve our higher education sector and the health and productivity of our students, while providing them with hands-on experience that will make them more competitive in the 21st century.

We expect the Better Buildings Initiative will align well with the activities of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment network to date, and will help leverage the leadership-by-example that the higher education sector has demonstrated since its launch in 2007.   Indeed, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is the first sector with a critical mass of university and college scientists, educators, administrators and students committed to pursuing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, and has developed publicly available concrete action plans to do so.  These plans include steps to ensure students have the knowledge and skills to help the rest of society do the same.

We recognize achieving climate neutrality will involve reducing energy demand dramatically through smart design, conservation and energy efficiency in new and existing buildings.  Pursuing these strategies saves energy and money and is among the most strategic steps for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, as quickly as possible.

We applaud the President’s efforts to promote energy efficiency, cost-savings, economic revitalization, national security and American competitiveness through the Better Buildings Initiative.

– Co-Chairs of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

  • Judith A. Ramaley, President, Winona State University
  • Mary S. Spangler, Chancellor, Houston Community College
  • Beverly Daniel Tatum, President, Spelman College
  • Mitchell S. Thomashow, President, Unity College
  • Timothy P. White, Chancellor, University of California, Riverside

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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature and Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Second Nature
(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


The ACUPCC represents a courageous and unprecedented form of leadership by higher education to lead society to a climate neutral and environmentally sustainable state in order to meet the individual, social and economic needs of all humans in the present and in the future.  Signatory schools have committed to be a model for climate neutrality and sustainability and ensure that their graduates will have the knowledge and skills to help all of society do the same.

One of the most exciting developments of this focus by higher education institutions has been the cultural shift that is taking place on many campuses.  Presidents and other campus leaders have recognized that achieving these goals requires the focus, involvement and collaboration of all parts of the institution – administrators, faculty, staff, students and trustees – in deep and synergistic ways.  They have told Second Nature and others that the Commitment has accelerated efforts to integrate academic, research, operational and community outreach actions into a holistic approach to sustainability and that it has done more to build a vibrant community and a sense of shared purpose across the institutions than any other initiative in recent memory.  Collectively, the ACUPCC network has become an important learning community and is helping to encourage all of higher education to make this commitment.


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