UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman and University officials will be in Boston October 1 -- 3 for the 2014 Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership. The Summit will bring together more than 250 college and university leaders from across the U. S. to focus on ways to strengthen campus climate action and sustainability initiatives, as well as higher education's leadership role in developing strategic responses to climate and sustainability challenges in community, regional, and national contexts. Like UMass Dartmouth, most Summit participants are signatories of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
As part of the Sustainability showcase, three UMass Dartmouth initiatives will be exhibited: Power Co-Generation, The Living Classroom, and Behavior Change. The presenters will be Assistant Vice Chancellor for Master Planning & Capital Projects Michael Hayes, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Mike LaGrassa, Associate Professor of Political Science Robert Darst, and Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives Jamie Jacquart.
Convened by Second Nature, Inc. the supporting organization for the ACUPCC, the Summit reflects the centrality of higher education's role in preparing new generations to meet the challenges of climate change. The program focuses on ways to build on the success of climate action plans and sustainability initiatives on ACUPCC campuses and develop solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing our communities.
More than 680 colleges and universities in the U. S. are current ACUPCC signatories, representing all 50 states, D. C., and every category of public and private higher education institution. These signatories are committed to achieving carbon neutrality and represent more than 6.5 million students -- one third of all college students in the nation.
Chancellor Grossman was recently elected to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Steering Committee. 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 Summit is a key opportunity for ACUPCC presidents and their sustainability teams to work together to shape higher education's critical role in advancing sustainability and addressing climate change at the national level," said Portland State University President Wim Wiewel, Chair of the ACUPCC Steering Committee. "The launch of the National Climate Assessment this past spring has given us a clear mandate and an excellent springboard for climate action. It's imperative for higher education to respond and help lead our society in defining and achieving a sustainable future."
The Summit was designed by a group of 30 college and university presidents with the support of a committee of seven local institutions, and is organized into five tracks: Knowledge and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education's Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Campus Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Risks, and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership -- along with a session on the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature's newest initiative focused on climate resilience.
Highlights include keynote addresses by Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston, and Kate Gordon, Executive Director of The Risky Business Project. Kathy Jacobs, Director of the Center for Climate Change Adaptation Science and Solutions and former Director of the U. S. National Climate Assessment, is speaking about and facilitating discussions about climate resilience throughout the event.
CO2 impact from attendee travel, meeting space, and guest accommodations is being offset through purchase by The Revere Hotel of carbon offsets from Native Energy, Inc. Summit sponsors include Xerox, Cenergistic, Altenex, and ecoAmerica. For more information about the Summit, visit http://www.secondnature.org/resources/summit-2014.
UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant, public research university dedicated to engaged learning and innovative research resulting in personal and lifelong student success. The University serves as an intellectual catalyst for economic, social, and cultural transformation on a global, national, and regional scale.
About Second Nature: Second Nature works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society beginning with the transformation of higher education. It is the supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an intensive partnership among more than 680 higher education institutions committed to climate neutrality. ACUPCC institutions work to accelerate education, research, and community engagement to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate while setting an example by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. Learn more at: www.secondnature.org and www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.