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SCENE@CCSU: CCSU commits to reduce its footprint

Sunday, January 25, 2009 10:25 PM EST


Central Connecticut State University has made a significant advance in campus sustainability by meeting the standards to achieve climate neutrality set by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

In August 2007, President Jack Miller signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, and CCSU became a charter member of the ACUPCC.

CCSU commits to achieve climate neutrality by a date and with a plan that the university will set this year.

Miller made the commitment in consultation with the CCSU Sustainability Council.

As he notes, “This is a big commitment. The goal of ‘climate neutrality’ is far more comprehensive than merely eliminating carbon emissions. In fact, the technology does not yet exist for some of the steps we must take. Nevertheless, it is the right commitment. The leadership provided by higher education now makes it possible for the entire nation to develop the needed sustainable technologies, policies, infrastructures, institutional practices and culture changes.”

The initial steps were very encouraging and helped us see how much CCSU had already accomplished. When Miller signed the PCC, the university had already accomplished several of the initial steps required. The Sustainability Council was already in place as a very active team to implement the plan.

CCSU already follows the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard for all new campus buildings. CCSU operates with an environmentally preferable purchasing policy and a solid waste and recycling plan and is actively expanding public transportation access to the institution.

In September, CCSU completed its greenhouse gas inventory — an inventory of all GHGs emitted by the university. Not a big surprise for our commuting campus, transportation accounted for 52 percent of our GHGs.

Furthermore, Central will achieve climate neutrality while meeting our charge to graduate globally-oriented and well-traveled students. Dr. Abigail E. Adams, professor of anthropology and co-chairwoman of the Sustainability Council observes, “There’s nothing like jet travel to kill your carbon budget, but our goal for sustainability is more than the number 0. Until alternatives exist, some fossil-fueled travel counts as ‘citizenship miles.’

My study abroad students built a green sidewalk this past summer in Costa Rica, in part as carbon offset work and in addition to carrying out a rigorous program of academics and cultural immersion.”

The Presidents Climate Commitment and climate neutrality are important objectives in reaching our goal for CCSU sustainability: “Small footprint, big contribution.”

Dan Moran is Associate Chief Administrative Officer and co-chair of the Sustainability Council at CCSU.
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