Smith Joins National Climate Pact
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College President Carol T. Christ recently signed an agreement to reduce the college’s carbon emissions, joining higher education leaders nationwide.
The agreement, called the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, is an effort to address global warming by neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions. It is modeled after a similar pact made by mayors across the country.
“Smith’s commitment to sustainability is grounded in its educational mission,” said Christ. “The college recognizes its responsibility to produce environmentally responsible citizens and leaders and to demonstrate the values of environmental sustainability in our daily operations.”
Over the next two years, Smith will undertake an effort to catalog its sources of carbon emissions and lay out a timetable for achieving carbon neutrality—defined as having no net greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon neutrality is achieved both by minimizing emissions and by offsetting emissions with renewable sources of energy and the carbon dioxide sequestered by campus plantings.
By signing the commitment, President Christ pledged that Smith will take the following steps:
• Complete an emissions inventory,
• Set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral,
• Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions,
• Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience,
• Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.
To date, Smith is among more than 434 colleges or universities—including 41 in Massachusetts—to have signed the commitment, which began when a dozen presidents agreed to launch the effort a year ago. At Smith, progress toward the goals of the commitment will be overseen by the Sustainability Committee, a 13-person group comprised of faculty, staff and students charged with identifying, implementing, and evaluating approaches for increasing the college’s commitment to sustainability in all areas of the campus.
Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.
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