April 24, 2009

Valdosta State Joins National Sustainability Movement

VALDOSTA --Valdosta State University President Patrick J. Schloss signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment April 24, and joined more than 600 higher education institutions across the country that are striving to become more climate neutral. The document formally commits the university to develop a plan that eliminates greenhouse gas emission over time and moves the campus towards climate neutrality.

“This is a significant step in Valdosta State’s efforts towards sustainability,” Schloss said. “Sustainability is an issue of great importance to our students, faculty, staff and community. In the past several months we have made important advancements and look forward to accomplishing the objectives outlined in the commitment.”

In 2008, Schloss established the Climate Council to review the requirements of the Presidents Climate Commitment. Council members immediately established an institutional structure to monitor the university’s sustainability plan, created an action plan to achieve climate neutrality, started an emissions inventory, initiated steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus, and developed a plan to integrate sustainability into the academic curriculum.

In a few short months, the Council has made advancements in the university’s existing recycling program, installed solar panels and initiated other facility conservation efforts, and developed the requirements for a minor in environmental studies. A significant milestone includes quantifying the carbon footprint for electrical and gas usage and continued work in quantifying the carbon footprint for transportation.

Presidents signing the Commitment agree to provide leadership at their institution and take the following goals and actions steps in pursuit of climate neutrality:
• Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality, including completing a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) within a year of signing the Commitment;
• Begin to initiate tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while a more comprehensive long-term plan is being developed, and
• Ensure that the action plans, inventory, and periodic progress reports are easily accessible to the public and submitted to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for posting and dissemination.

More information on the Presidents Climate Commitment, visit http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/

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