Posts Tagged ‘warren wilson college’

Engaging students in the process of fulfilling the ACUPCC is a great way to get things done – completing greenhouse gas inventories, creating a climate action plan, implementing specific projects, and reporting on progress.  But more importantly, it provides a variety of excellent experiential education opportunities, exposing students processes and systems that will be in growing demand in workplace.

Students can gain marketable technical skills related to carbon accounting, reporting, renewable energy systems, green building, and more. There are also a whole host of relevant disciplines where students can earn valuable experience, such as economics and financing, law and policy, and strategic planning and management.  Maybe most important, it’s a chance to experience firsthand how organizations work, and the exciting challenges of managing complex change.

The Campus Climate Neutral project from the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS) has helped many schools engage students in climate action planning process, including UC Santa Barbara, Tulane, Bard, and the University of Arizona.  The Climate Corps Public Sector program from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is also training students and placing them in internships on campuses to conduct energy audits and make cost-saving recommendations for energy reductions.

There are hundreds of examples of ACUPCC institutions that have engaged students in this exciting process in one way or another.  Here are just a few:

Agnes Scott College: Student interns have been integrally involved in every stage of Agnes Scott’s climate neutrality efforts. A biology student conducted the GHG emissions inventory in 2008 and several students contributed to the CAP and are working on a broader sustainability plan.

Allegheny College: In Spring Semester 2007 students in an Environmental Science junior seminar conducted a preliminary inventory for 2000-2006. Two students from that class continued work during Summer, 2007.

Bergen Community College: Student researchers conducted the emissions inventory under the guidance and review of a sustainability officer.

Cabrillo College: Faculty and students involved in Career Work Experience Education (CWEE) and Energy Academy projects helped complete the GHG inventory. Partnerships among faculty, students, administration and staff greatly strengthened Cabrillo’s ability to conduct an emissions inventory. Highly technical, and creative, faculty-led student projects provided important GHG reduction strategies.

Colby-Sawyer College: During the 2006-2007 academic year a group of third-year students in the Environmental Studies Department’s “Community-Based Research Project” class formed GreenROUTES and recommended that their president sign the ACUPCC. In 2008-2009 another group of students revisited the GreenROUTES project with specific focus on the ACUPCC. These students completed the college’s first GHG Inventory, a comprehensive sustainability analysis using the STARS assessment tool (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) and developed a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to reduce the college’s carbon footprint. Both reports served as a foundation for the Climate Action Plan.

Community College of Denver: Following work done on emissions inventories in a class setting, the Auraria Higher Education Center hired a student from that class to conduct the emissions inventory for the institutions on the Auraria Campus. The student worked directly with AHEC’s Planning Department and Facilities Management to gather data related to the emissions of the campus. The student then analyzed the data and prepared the report. Professor Ramaswami, who leads UC Denver’s Sustainable Infrastructure program, was used as resource for the student in preparing the report.

Macalester College:  Students conducted a greenhouse gas emission inventory, analyzed findings and presented information to the college community and ACUPCC committee. The next year’s Environmental Studies senior seminar class made recommendations for the climate action plan.

Ohio University: Twelve graduate and undergraduate students contributed to compiling a GHG inventory for OU. Their work was the result of OU’s first “environmental studies learning seminar.” The class also created a “solutions team” to examine how possible alternatives to OU’s current facilities could reduce the school’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

Portland Community College: A detailed GHG audit was completed by a Rock Creek Student Leadership Team under the guidance of the Sustainability Coordinator and the Director of Physical Plant.

Shoreline Community College: The GHG  inventory was completed as a class project which was supervised by Professor Tim Payne. The students were responsible for gathering copies of the billing statements each month, analyzing and calculating the informaiton needed for the report using the carbon calculator.  Staff then completed subsequent GHG inventories following the process developed by students.

Warren Wilson College: Student researchers are utilized as part of the Warren Wilson College work program, in which all resident students work 15 hours a week for the college in some form. One or more members of the Campus Greening Crew, a part of the Environmental Leadership Center at Warren Wilson, are responsible for compiling the Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the college each year (starting with a 2004-2005 school year report). Data is gathered from other work crews, staff, faculty, and from the natural gas and electricity bills. The process is organized and directed by the sustainability office staff.

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By Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


The 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit met October 12-13 in Denver, CO. The nearly 200 participants got right to work sharing challenges and best practices and outlining the future direction of the commitment. Highlights from the Summit follow.

James WoolseyJames Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton, provided the opening keynote address. Mr. Woolsey’s presentation focused on the impending threats to national security that are being posed by an increasingly unstable climate. His perspective creatively threaded the current and future social and environmental implications of our reigning energy policy as well as provided some promising existing mechanisms to scale renewable energy production. Note: Mr. Woolsey’s presentation and all Summit presentations will be available on the ACUPCC website soon. (more…)

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Warren Wilson College receives Second Nature’s 1st Annual Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence in Climate Leadership. Award recipients were recognized at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Summit in Denver, CO on October 12th.

Catalyzed by President, Sandy Pfeiffer’s signing of the ACUPCC in 2007, Warren Wilson College’s (WWC) sustainability progress has accelerated significantly in the areas of senior leadership, academics, and work and service.

Highlights of WWC’s climate leadership include but are not limited to the following actions:

Senior Leadership Engagement:

  • PAC team formally adopts sustainable decision making
  • President receives two grants for sustainability curriculum with 2011 focus on Energy
  • Chief Sustainability Official leads 20 faculty, staff, and students to develop CAP
  • Provost appoints faculty Director of Sustainability Education
  • Human Resources director modifies staff evaluations to assess sustainability actions
  • Facilities Director creates student Energy Services Crew, Strategic Energy Management Plan to support CAP
  • CFO approves Funds to support CAP
  • Trustees approve 5-year Strategic Plan with “Sustainability” as Core Value and CAP as action step
  • Dean of Work guides new Land Use Plan that supports CAP; modifies student work evaluations to assess sustainability actions

Campus-wide Learning Experiences:

  • Environmental Leadership Center provides monthly Climate Action Tips; quarterly energy use reports; annual GHG inventory; energy awareness events; annual Dorm Energy Challenge; Green Walkabout© campus tour for new students; annual sustainability newsletter Catalyst; annual Sustainability Speakers eg Bill McKibben, Andy Revkin, Lester Brown, Ray Anderson, Majora Carter; annual Mountain Green Sustainable Communities conference; annual Sustainability Internship Program for WWC students; INSULATE!’s weatherization of poverty-level homes; EcoTeam, including Energy and Climate units, for 80% of county third-graders; weekly, sustainability-focused, public radio program
  • Academics: psychology department conducts campus behavior change study for CAP; environmental studies students research viable carbon offsets; chemistry department focuses objectives on energy and climate; International Programs actively reduce carbon footprint; new curriculum assesses full-cost of energy and climate; faculty research sustainable agriculture, forestry, decision making, faith communities and climate action, political barriers to carbon-free fuels
  • Service: students provide 20,000+ hours annually of sustainability-related service; Work: students raise 10% of produce and 80% of beef served in cafeteria; operate acclaimed recycling program; maintain campus native landscaping; use GreenSeal products; build LEED Gold certified buildings; install waterless urinals and low flow fixtures; develop real-time energy monitoring

Innovative Strategies and Financing:

  • Solar array kW’s sold to NC Green Power finance climate action
  • Partner Progress Energy funds energy audit equipment, EcoTeam, workshops to proliferate INSULATE! programs
  • New WWC Funds: Community Sustainability Fund,  Real-time Monitoring Fund, Energy Reduction Fund, Climate Action Presidential Grants, Renewable Energy Fund, Sustainability Fund, Campus Greening Seed Grants
  • Two new Sustainability Endowments for scholarships and community outreach
  • Formal Climate Action and Sustainability Partnership with City of Asheville

For more on WWC’s sustainability efforts visit:


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In addition to their innovative campus green building, renewable energy projects, and sustainable agricultural practices, all 10 colleges named in US News & World Report’s list of Eco Friendly College Campuses have something in common: they’re all signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

10 Eco Friendly College Campuses - US News & World Reportclick to view the US News & World Report slideshow

View these signatory schools’ ACUPCC profiles by visiting the ACUPCC Reporting System:

  1. Warren Wilson College
  2. University of Colorado at Boulder
  3. Ithaca College
  4. The Evergreen State College
  5. University of New Hampshire, Durham
  6. University of California, Santa Barbara
  7. College of the Atlantic
  8. Arizona State University
  9. University of California, Santa Cruz
  10. Middlebury College

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