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Eckerd College Joins National Climate Commitment Launch with Release of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Action Plan

posted on 09/21/2009

American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

As one of the early signatories of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, Eckerd College has joined other institutions in the recent release of its Eckerd College Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mitigation Action Plan. The ACUPCC initiative targets the largest-ever segment of a societal sector to simultaneously submit concrete activities to address global warming: colleges and universities.

The primary goal of the GHG mitigation strategy is to reduce Eckerd College's emissions of gases that contribute to climate change through a variety of strategies, ranging from conservation actions and behavior change to initiatives such as Zipride and the new air travel offset program.

Upon signing the ACUPCC initiative, Eckerd College President Dr. Donald R. Eastman III committed Eckerd to submitting the first iteration of a climate action plan within two years of joining the effort. "A key component of the Eckerd College experience is environmental," said Dr. Eastman. "Eckerd's mitigation strategy reflects projects that attempt to balance short-term and long-term sustainability options with financial feasibility and high visibility."

The Eckerd College Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Action Plan: In Pursuit of Climate Neutrality was prepared by Alison Ormsby, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies; David Hastings, Associate Professor of Marine Science and Chemistry; Kaela Wuesthoff '09, Marine Science alumna; Audrey Copeland '07, Environmental Studies alumna; and Evan Bollier '11, a junior majoring in Environmental Studies.

Eckerd's report is organized by short-term, medium-term, and long-term projects with an intent to be updated and reviewed by Eckerd's Environmental Affairs Committee, Climate Change Committee, and the Business Office.

Possible mitigation projects range in scope: install light control motion sensors; sustain a campus-wide, year-round recycling program (the current program is driven by student volunteers during the academic year); establish a carpool and bus pass support program for the Eckerd College Community (Eckerd formally partnered with Zipride.com in May 2009); install solar photovoltaic (PV panels); and require LEED Certification for all future construction.

Click here to read the Eckerd College Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Action Plan in its entirety

About the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
Launched in 2007, the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment is a network of 650 signatory schools, representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia. This high-visibility effort to address global warming garners institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate. The ACUPCC is led by a Steering Committee comprised of more than 20 university and college presidents. The lead supporting organization of the initiative is the national nonprofit Second Nature, based in Boston, with additional key support provided by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

About Sustainability at Eckerd College
More examples of Eckerd's many sustainable projects include: Zipride.com provides ridesharing opportunities for the campus community; the Edible Peace Patch garden project at Lakewood Elementary School; the reusable EcoClamshell to-go container, the Yellow Community Bike program designed five years ago to increase bicycle use on campus and decrease automobile traffic; the hands-on, student-run recycling program; the Visions of Nature / Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival; Iota Complex, a residence hall for which Eckerd is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification; facilities vendor UNICCO's GreenClean green products approach; Bon Appetit's Circle of Responsibility and Eat Local Challenge programs that aptly match Eckerd's environmental ambitions; and the popular Environmental Studies major that consistently graduates enough students to qualify as one of the College's top three majors.

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