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Oberlin Recognized in Climate Leadership Summit

Jun. 22, 2012

Amanda Nagy

The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.

Oberlin has earned special recognition from the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) for being a founding institution dedicated to combating climate change.

During the annual ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit held June 21 and 22 at American University, Oberlin was among 12 colleges and universities recognized as one of the founding signatories of the ACUPCC. Since its founding five years ago, the initiative has grown to more than 675 schools that are working to model ways to eliminate greenhouse gases and to provide the knowledge for graduates to help society address the global warming challenge.  

The ACUPCC originated from planning sessions among a group of college and university presidents and their representatives, as well as Second Nature Inc., ecoAmerica, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) at the AASHE conference in October 2006 at Arizona State University. Former Oberlin president Nancy Dye was among the founding signatories of the initiative that launched the ACUPCC in early December of 2006 by sending a letter to nearly 400 of their peers inviting them to join.

According to ACUPCC, efforts to re-stabilize the earth’s climate fit squarely into the educational, research, and public service missions of higher education.

“The college and university presidents and chancellors who are joining and leading the commitment believe that exerting leadership in addressing climate disruption is an integral part of the mission of higher education, and will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni, business and local communities,” says Ulli Klein, director of communications and operations for Second Nature, an organization that works with college and university administrators to implement sustainable practices.

Since the 2006 founding of ACUPCC, the college and city of Oberlin have joined forces to create one of the first climate positive cities in America — shifting to renewable energy sources, radically improving efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the local economy in the process.

The Oberlin Project, a joint initiative of the college, city, and other partners, aims to revitalize the local economy; eliminate carbon emissions; restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development. The college and city also have signed on to become one of 18 Clinton Foundation Climate Positive Development Program cities (one of only three in the United States), thereby committing Oberlin to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions below zero.

“Oberlin is proud to be one of the founding signatories of the ACUPCC, and proud that Nancy Dye, my predecessor, made addressing climate change a focal point of our campus and town,” says Oberlin President Marvin Krislov. “That spirit continues today in the pioneering Oberlin Project and in our work with the Clinton Climate Initiative.”

The other founding signatories of the ACUPCC are Arizona State University, Ball State University, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, California State University, Chico; Cape Cod Community College, College of the Atlantic, Lane Community College, Los Angeles Community College District, Ohlone College, Pacific Lutheran University, and University of Florida.

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