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The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is celebrating five years of higher education’s leadership on the critical issues of our time, with new data from signatories’ public reports showing unprecedented success and innovation in renewable energy, curriculum, energy efficiency, green building, and financial savings. 202 institutions have submitted Progress Reports on their implementation of the commitment in the first five years, showing the following results, which are indicative of progress throughout the network.  While reports are still coming in and numbers are subject to change, preliminary analysis of the latest data shows:

  • Collectively, the ACUPCC represents the 3rd largest purchaser of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in the United States, with 156 Signatories purchasing a total of 1,279,765,254 kWh RECs.
  • 175 signatories report current curriculum offerings include 9,548 courses focused on sustainability
  • 67% of signatories affirmed that their Climate Action Plan has saved their institution money.  Generating total savings of $100 million dollars.
  • The 406 institutions that have submitted more than one GHG inventory have reduced cumulative annual CO2e emissions by approximately 384,000 metric tons — an average of 970 tons per year per institution
  • Reporting signatories show a total renewable energy output of 170,000,000 kwh — the equivalent of powering 14,617 American households electricity for one year.

Through the ACUPCC, higher education has become the only sector in the U.S. with a critical mass committed to the scientifically necessary goal of climate neutrality.  During the first 5 years of the initiative, over 700 colleges and universities in the US signed the ACUPCC, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and every type of public and private institution (2-year, 4-year, research university).  6 million students attend ACUPCC institutions – approximately one-third of all college and university students in the United States. International initiatives modeled after the ACUPCC have launched in Scotland and Peru, and similar initiatives are being explored in Taiwan, Australia, and Hungary.

It is a rare example of a voluntary initiative that includes accountability through the ongoing public reporting process, to which all ACUPCC signatories agree.  All public reports are available on the ACUPCC Reporting System at rs.acupcc.org.

Measuring Success

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Share Your Stories

In celebration of Campus Sustainability Day we invite you to share your responses to our event  – Campus Conversations – by posting your feedback, comments, stories, and ideas on the conversation topic – sustainability in admissions, retention, and educational value.

Watch the Campus Sustainability Day Webcast
A Useful Education: Sustainability in Admissions, Retention, and Educational Value 

Participate in an interactive video conversation
Ask a question of one of our Campus Sustainability Day participants

Share Your Thoughts and Stories
In a time of increasing focus on the value and use of a college education, how are sustainability and climate programs offering prospective students and their families, as well as enrolled students, the opportunity to engage in a useful, innovative, and valued educational experience? Sustainability programs, and curricular opportunities, offer a variety of ways for students to engage in transforming their campus and learning about their world, society, and place in it.

Do these opportunities make for a more engaged student body?  Do they attract students to a university?

Do you think that students at your campus are interested in sustainability as part of their education, and are prospective students going to be looking for sustainability when they visit campus?

Share your thoughts!

Leave a comment with your name and institution below.

If you haven’t already, visit the Campus Conversations website for more information.

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Second Nature: Campus Sustainability Day

Campus Sustainability Day
October 26th 2011 | Join the Conversation!

http://www.secondnature.org/csd

Campus Sustainability Day is a time to focus and reflect on the success of the sustainability movement in higher education. Together, we’re moving society forward towards a sustainable future.

As individual campuses we are strong, but as a movement we are stronger still, and our connections across campuses and institutions enable us to learn from one another and grow as a movement. Second Nature invites you to join an event to spark conversation and new connections this Campus Sustainability Day by participating in:

Campus Conversations (October 26th, 2011)
A Useful Education: Sustainability in Admissions,
Retention, and Educational Value

More about Campus Conversations after the jump.

How to Participate:

  • Register now to participate in the conversation. It’s free!
  • Schedule your events on campus – organize discussions in class, schedule an all-campus teach-in, or tune-in as part of your own celebration.
  • Log in on Campus Sustainability Day and watch the 15-20 minute webcast to get the conversation started. You can watch the webcast anytime during Campus Sustainability Day, or re-screen several times.
  • Watch, ask questions, and respond to feedback on the Campus Conversations website. Participants will be recording video responses and stories on the conversation, and you can contribute by submitting your own questions, uploading video responses, and participating in other interactive media outlets.
  • Post your event on the Campus Sustainability Day Event Calendar.

If you have a story to share about sustainability, campus admissions, and the value of a useful education – contact Sarah Brylinsky at sbrylinsky@secondnature.org.

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A nice note from one of our stakeholders, we couldn’t help sharing:

 

“I wanted to thank you for your work on the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Not only has the project influenced the operations of colleges and universities across the country, but it has also influenced the lens through which many high school juniors and seniors view their potential school choices.”

                              — Hilary Platt, Middlebury College Student & WWF Intern

 

Thanks Hilary!

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Clayton Snyder, Net Impact member, Monterey Institute of International Studies graduate.

Net Impact is an international nonprofit with a mission to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. They recently ran this inspirational story about Net Impact member – Clayton Snyder – championed the cause for the Monterey Institute of International Studies to complete their climate action plan for the ACUPCC – with a target of eliminating net greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.

“All this carbon neutrality work has been our [Net Impact] chapter’s biggest accomplishment,” Clayton says. “And personally, leading the project allowed me to manage sustainability policy for an organization. I never would have gained skills in GHG auditing or carbon planning without the Campus Greening role.”

The impact of the energy efficiency, conservation, and behavior change efforts that will help MIIS achieve climate neutrality are important – but Clayton’s experience, which he is now bringing to his professional career at EcoMedia, an organization that allows advertisers to support municipal environmental projects to make them feasible.  In the Net Impact article, Clayton goes on to encourage more students to take an active role in their campus’s sustainability planning:

“It’s a great way to gain sustainability management experience before you enter the corporate world,” he advises. “There aren’t a whole lot of people out there who have that kind of experience, so it differentiates you when you’re looking for a job in CSR.”

Active involvement from students is often essential for institution in successfully creating a climate action plan.  Of course, the process needs to be institutionalized so new students are prepared to step in as champions graduate, with support from staff, faculty, and administrators. When successful, this approach can save the institution time and money, and provide invaluable real-world experience to prepare graduates for the 21st century economy.

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On January 10th, 2007 Diana Van Der Ploeg, President of Butte College in Oroville, CA signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), making the institutional pledge to create a plan for pursuing climate neutrality and promoting education and research on climate and sustainability.  They have set a target date of 2015 for achieving climate neutrality.

Last week, Butte announced that it’s latest installation of solar photovoltaics, once completed in May 2011, will make the college grid positive – meaning it will generate more electricity on site than it purchases from the grid each year.  This leading project is another big step toward climate neutrality and sustainability.  Butte’s 2006 GHG inventory shows Scope 2 emissions of 2,942 metric tons CO2e – the updated report that will be submitted this fall will undoubtedly show the sharp drop in emissions associated with grid-purchased electricity due to these efforts.

The $17 million project was funded in large part by Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) along with funding from the college and support from state and federal rebates and incentives.

President Van Der Ploeg points to active student involvement for much of the college’s success in moving towards sustainability.  This video, from Butte’s day of climate action on 10/24/09 (part of the international day of action organized by 350.org) shows the level of student engagement and creativity:

Raven’s Message from Daniel Dancer on Vimeo.

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The Energy Action Coalition is back in… action.   Check out this video launching the Power Vote 2010 campaign aimed at getting dirty energy out of politics, so that energy efficiency and clean energy solutions can power green jobs and economic recovery:

College and university students are leading the youth climate movement to create a safer future for all of us.  They have opened applications for political campaign training courses this fall; they are working internationally through the Great Power Race; they are creating visions of the future they want through Define Our Decade; and  they are getting to work on 10/10/10 to show politicians how we can reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 parts per million.

As the July issue of the ACUPCC Implementer focused on – addressing the climate crisis requires great leadership at all levels.  The youth of our country are certainly among the most important and effective actors in ensuring we make this great transition successfully, peacefully, and quickly.

Here in Boston, The Leadership Campaign has been working hard to green Massachusetts campuses and improve energy policy in the Commonwealth – read more about their efforts in this piece by former Second Nature intern Dan Abrams.

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