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09-26-2014

Clarkson University's President & Sustainability Team to Join Climate Leadership Summit

Clarkson University President Tony Collins will speak at the 2014 Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership in Boston October 1-3.
 
Clarkson University Student CenterSpence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems Susan E. Powers and Director of Facilities Ian D. Hazen will also take part in the summit with Collins.

The summit will bring together more than 250 college and university leaders from across the United States to focus on ways to strengthen campus climate action and sustainability initiatives, as well as higher education’s leadership role in developing strategic responses to climate and sustainability challenges in community, regional, and national contexts. Like Clarkson, most Summit participants are signatories of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

During Collins' presentation, he'll discuss the evolution of Clarkson to a sustainable campus. A few years ago, Clarkson benchmarked itself using the STARS ranking system, concluding that Clarkson should be a continuous living laboratory for sustainable practices. The University's size and collaborative nature lends itself to this approach that is overseen by the president and cabinet.

As examples of this approach, Collins will describe four courses involving campus sustainability design issues, the campus sustainability fund, the development of renewable electricity sources, and socially responsible investments in the University endowment. He also plans to touch on the challenges of obtaining and sharing data across campus to drive the sustainability process.

Convened by Second Nature Inc., the supporting organization for the ACUPCC, the summit reflects the centrality of higher education’s role in preparing new generations to meet the challenges of climate change. The program focuses on ways to build on the success of climate action plans and sustainability initiatives on ACUPCC campuses and develop solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing our communities.

The timing of this event is especially useful for the Clarkson team. "As a new signatory of the President’s Climate Commitment, our Clarkson team will have an opportunity to use the Leadership Summit to establish broad goals and basic strategies for crafting and implementing its climate action plan," says Powers.

More than 680 colleges and universities in the United States are current ACUPCC signatories, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and every category of public and private higher education institution. These signatories are committed to achieving carbon neutrality and represent more than 6.5 million students -- one third of all college students in the nation.

“The Summit is a key opportunity for ACUPCC presidents and their sustainability teams to work together to shape higher education’s critical role in advancing sustainability and addressing climate change at the national level,” said Portland State University President Wim Wiewel, chair of the ACUPCC Steering Committee. “The launch of the National Climate Assessment this past spring has given us a clear mandate and an excellent springboard for climate action. It’s imperative for higher education to respond and help lead our society in defining and achieving a sustainable future.”

The Summit was designed by a group of 30 college and university presidents  with the support of a committee of seven local institutions, and is organized into five tracks: Knowledge and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education’s Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Campus Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Risks, and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership -- along with a session on the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature’s newest initiative focused on climate resilience.

Highlights include keynote addresses by Brian Swett, chief of environment and energy for the City of Boston, and Kate Gordon, executive director of the Risky Business Project. Kathy Jacobs, director of the Center for Climate Change Adaptation Science and Solutions and former director of the U. S. National Climate Assessment, is speaking about and facilitating discussions about climate resilience throughout the event.

CO2 impact from attendee travel, meeting space, and guest accommodations is being offset through purchase by the Revere Hotel of carbon offsets from Native Energy Inc. Summit sponsors include Xerox, Cenergistic, Altenex, and ecoAmerica.

For more information about the Summit, visit http://www.secondnature.org/resources/summit-2014.

Second Nature works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society beginning with the transformation of higher education. It is the supporting organization of the ACUPCC, an intensive partnership among more than 680 higher education institutions committed to climate neutrality. ACUPCC institutions work to accelerate education, research, and community engagement to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate while setting an example by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. Learn more at: www.secondnature.org and www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Spence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems Susan E. Powers and Director of Facilities Ian D. Hazen are taking part in the Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership, where Collins will also speak. Above, Clarkson's Student Center, which received LEED Silver certification, due to its state-of-the-art construction processes, energy efficiency, and innovation in design.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/student-center-2.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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