UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman has been elected to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Steering Committee. The ACUPCC is a national network of colleges and universities, which recognizes the unique responsibility that higher education institutions have to promote educational, social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming and create a sustainable society. The Steering Committee is the chief governing body of the ACUPCC and is responsible for guidance, policy and direction of the ACUPCC. It is comprised of more than 20 volunteers that reflect the diversity of higher education.
"It is a great privilege to be elected to work alongside my counterparts in other colleges and universities and the ACUPCC's partner organizations in developing and supporting efforts toward sustainability," said Chancellor Grossman. "UMass Dartmouth's commitment to sustainability-based academic, research, and outreach initiatives align with the goals of the ACUPCC in promoting education for sustainability, climate leadership, and pursuing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions."
The ACUPCC originated from planning sessions among college and university presidents and their representatives, Second Nature, ecoAmerica, and AASHE at the AASHE conference in October 2006 at Arizona State University. Twelve presidents agreed to become founding signatories and launched the ACUPCC in early December of 2006 by sending a letter to nearly 400 of their peers inviting them to join the initiative. In June of 2007, with the signatory group up to 284 institutions, the ACUPCC was officially launched to the public at the first annual Climate Leadership Summit.
UMass Dartmouth was an early signatory of the ACUPCC. The University offers a Sustainability Minor and Certificate, has published a comprehensive Climate Action Plan, and implemented innovative energy projects.
Dr. Grossman has served as Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth since April 2012. Prior to joining UMass Dartmouth, she was the Founding Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University where she had also served as Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Nursing. At Florida International University, Dr. Grossman led the development of the first Leed-certified building on campus, with a green roof that was also the first in the city of Miami. In 2011, she was part of the FIU Sustainable Communities team, one of only two in the U.S. that involved university participation that won a $4.25 federal grant from HUD, DOT, and EPA to forge a plan for community leadership development to address sustainability and sea level rise in South Florida and participated in the national Sustainability boot camp that year at Harvard University.
UMass Dartmouth's strong commitment to the environment and sustainable practices was recently profiled in the fifth annual edition of The Princeton Review's free downloadable book, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges". Schools were chosen based on a 2013 survey of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges to measure the schools' commitment to the environment and to sustainability. Among the highlights were the University's 20 percent carbon emission reduction since 2008 and the renovation and expansion of the LEED Silver Claire T. Carney Library.
UMass Dartmouth's sustainability programs and projects also include efforts by the Green Navigators, a student group which has worked with facilities staff to increase UMass Dartmouth's recycling rate, the launch of a 1.7 MW co-generation plant, the University's Sustainable Alternative Spring Break program, establishment of a University Green Fee to fund sustainable projects and initiatives, and the addition of bicycle racks and bicycle repair stations around campus. Most recently, UMass Dartmouth's Green Move Out program, made up of a team of 15 students, worked diligently throughout UMass Dartmouth's Residence Halls collecting more than 4,300 Pounds in donated items during the University's Finals Week and Commencement ceremonies. In addition, UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science & Technology is internationally renowned for its work related to climate change, sea level rise, coastal preservation, and sustainable fisheries.
The ACUPCC's mission is to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society. The ACUPCC provides a framework and support for America's colleges and universities to implement comprehensive plans in pursuit of climate neutrality. The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in educating the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming and help create a thriving, civil and sustainable society.