Central Connecticut State University has joined forces with the national nonprofit Campus Compact to create and promote sustainability projects in the New Britain community to mitigate climate change.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to higher education civic and community engagement. Its new Campus Climate Action Corps program, in partnership with AmeriCorps, is the first nationwide program solely dedicated to campus-led, community-based climate action.
Central will serve as one of the nine inaugural host sites for the Campus Climate Action Corps (CCAC) program, which aims to build the capacity of campuses and their community partners to increase energy efficiency and make other improvements on behalf of underserved households and groups.
“We are proud to join our fellow hosts in the Campus Climate Action Corps,” says Central President Zulma R. Toro. “We share the same goal of ensuring the future health of our planet, and together we can do that by encouraging a culture of sustainability through education, practice, and cooperation. In the meantime, we will continue to adopt the practical methods by which we can reduce our carbon footprint as an institution.”
As a host site, Central will support a team of AmeriCorps members led by Dr. Charles Button, a professor in the Central Geography Department and program director of its sustainability program. Button says Central is the first university in the country to be selected as a host site.
Central’s CCAC team launched in early October and staff members are currently hiring student “Climate Energizers.” Participating students who are pursuing either a Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a specialization in Environmental Geography & Sustainability or Master of Science in Geography with a specialization in Global Sustainability can receive credit for an internship.
The CCAC team will host community environmental education events; conduct home energy assessments, including home energy assistance referrals; and implement low-tech home energy interventions to help advance public knowledge and increase motivation to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. Central’s team also will develop a climate action plan that will guide the university’s next steps in the fight against climate change.
“Being able to bring a program like CCAC to Central is significant,” says Button. “CCAC will give our students the capacity to directly apply what they learn in sustainability classes to real-world situations and see how their education can be used to benefit the greater good of their campus and communities they live in.”