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College is committed to creating a sustainable campus environment

Lafayette has joined the signatories to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Lafayette President Daniel Weiss is among more than 450 college and university presidents who have pledged to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse-gas emissions in a period of time determined by each institution. This involves:

  • Setting up a mechanism (committee, task force, office, etc.) within two months to guide the process
  • Completing an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions within one year
  • Creating and implementing a climate-neutral plan (that includes a target date and interim milestones for achieving campus climate neutrality) within two years
  • Taking two of seven immediate steps specified in the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while the more comprehensive plan is being developed
  • Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and making it part of the educational experience
  • Making the action plan, inventory and periodic progress reports publicly available

In addition to addressing global warming by gathering pledges to neutralize greenhouse-gas emissions, the Presidents Climate Commitment initiative aims to accelerate higher education’s research and educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The commitment states: “We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate-neutrality. Campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing global-warming emissions and by integrating sustainability into their curriculum will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a thriving, ethical, and civil society.”

Weiss says, “Lafayette is fully committed to creating a sustainable campus environment, and we are dedicating substantial resources to this crucial objective.” Advocating for state-of-the-art strategies for enhanced sustainability is among the primary objectives of a new department at the College, the Department of Facilities Planning. Created principally from current College personnel and existing financial resources, the department will be responsible for the planning, development, construction, and cost-effective delivery of capital projects. George Xiques, formerly the College’s assistant director of plant operations, will serve in the new position of manager of sustainability and environmental planning within the department.

In December, students in a Technology Clinic class wrapped up a two-semester project, commissioned by the Office of the President, to formulate recommendations for steps that would serve as “the groundwork for future actions toward a green Lafayette campus.” Their report set forth many ideas for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

“We appreciate and take very seriously the work that these students have done,” Weiss says.

On Jan. 30 and 31, Lafayette will participate in “Focus the Nation,” a national “teach-in” about global-warming solutions for America that will involve more than 1,000 colleges, universities, high schools, and other institutions. Events are free and open to the public. The College’s Sustainability Committee, made up of faculty, students, and administrators, and the student organization LEAP (Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection) are co-sponsoring Lafayette’s participation in “Focus the Nation.”

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