Monday, August 25, 2008

The Commitment

There has been quite a gap since my last post. I put the computer down for the past month. It was a nice chance to move away from the computer screen and engage more with the outside world. I talked, visited, volunteered, read, and measured but I limited my emailing, blogging, and surfing. It was a nice break and now I feel energized.

The fall semester is about to start and it is time to really focus sustainability efforts on the campus of Lasell College. In April, the Green Campus Task Force submitted their report to President Alexander which included a list of recommendations. The Task Force recommended President Alexander sign the President's Climate Commitment and commit to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. I am happy to say that President Alexander agreed with this recommendation and has signed the commitment. Lasell College joins 564 other colleges and universities in committing to take steps toward climate neutrality.

Reaching this goal is certainly going to be challenging. President Alexander has called for the creation of an Environmental Sustainability Committee. I am honored and excited to have been asked to serve as the first chair of this committee. In the coming weeks I will need to build a committee which will include undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and a Lasell Village resident. Very quickly we need to set specific goals and develop procedures to assess progress. We will also need to develop a comprehensive plan and establish sustainability policies.

Reaching an 80% reduction is going to be challenging especially given our heating needs. However I am confident that we can reach a 20% reduction in a relatively short period of time. Changes to buildings and houses will take time and money to implement but changing the behavior of students, faculty, and staff can have an immediate impact. As the first chair of this committee, I will focus efforts on changing behavior and work to create a culture of green living and working on our campus. Colleges and universities are centers for creativity and leadership. We will find ways to meet the goal of climate neutrality.

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