Submitted on January 11, 2013; last updated on January 11, 2013
Although carbon neutrality in 2056 is the ultimate target, the strategies to mitigate emissions identified in the CAP are focused toward meeting near term goals by 2031 (150th anniversary of the College). It is recognized that the CAP will be continually reviewed and revised as progress is made toward this intermediate milestone and that adjustments in strategies will be made before and after this milestone date in order to achieve the ultimate neutrality target.
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Spelman Mitigation Plan
The Spelman College (Spelman) Climate Action Plan (CAP) establishes the mitigation plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2056 (the 175th anniversary of the founding of the College). The CAP includes the following features and methods:
• Continued Monitoring: The 2009 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions estimate serves as the basis for the CAP and has been continued to be monitor and revise annually. This monitoring and estimate revision process will continue under the CAP and serve as a tracking method to identify progress in emission reductions.
• Business Practice Changes: Spelman has established a “Sustainable Spelman Committee” to champion the comprehensive integration of sustainability into daily operations and advance the CAP objectives. In addition, new institutional policies have been established governing new campus construction policy (USGBC LEED based), Energy Management, and Purchasing. The ASHEE STARStm Reporting methodology will be used to track campus initiatives.
• Intermediate Emission Reduction Goals: Spelman has committed to a 50% GHG emission reduction by 2031 (150th Anniversary of the College). To achieve this intermediate goal, 10 specific demand and supply side GHG emission reduction projects are identified. These include operational/behavioral changes as well as system and facility improvements, technology upgrades and system modifications.
• Long Term Emission Strategy: Spelman is committed to monitoring and assessing the actual emission reductions achieved through the implementation of identified GHG emission reduction projects. Through the review of the intermediate reduction strategies and monitoring of advancements in applicable technologies, Spelman College will develop a long term emission reduction approach to advance the reductions toward the ultimate neutrality target. While offset credits are not under consideration under the intermediate reduction strategy, the use of offset credits may be considered as part of the long term strategy.
Spelman College is committed to advancing education for sustainability through incorporating it across disciplines and courses. These efforts include:
» An introduction to sustainability is included in new student orientation
» The student Environmental Task Force promotes a greater sense of sustainability, environmental responsibility and consciousness on campus and beyond while providing an environmental education to the student participants.
» A close collaboration with the USEPA provides students many opportunities to help organize and attend Spelman College-hosted USEPA conferences.
» Sustainability Learning Outcomes are being implemented throughout the College curriculum
» Sustainability module is being developed for all first-year students in a course called First Year Experience
» The Environmental Studies Program has a number of Sustainability-Focused Courses
» The Social Sciences have multiple Interdisciplinary Sustainability-Focused Courses
» Sustainability-Related Courses exist campus wide
The curriculum initiatives include both sustainability focues and sustainability related courses as defined below:
Sustainability-focused courses which concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, aesthetic and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.
Sustainability-related courses which incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.
A survey of courses at Spelman College that meet the above-defined criteria identifies 17 sustainability-focused courses and 18 sustainability-related courses. While not all are permanent courses, they are in process of review to be so, and they have either been taught or are slated
Spelman has established Research Day as an annual conference to encourage campus wide participation in research efforts. In 2011, the overall theme of Research Day was Sustainable Spelman: From Personal to Global Perspectives. Research Day is highly attended by the majority of the campus and has a high profile. The 2011 event included special art installations that were the culmination of Art and Sustainability course. Spelman is committed to continue to use Research Day as a way to foster research in sustainability.
Students participated, presented papers and posters, and served as panelists at regional, national and international conferences related to Sustainability. For example:
Slow Food Terra Madre and Salone de Gusto Conference, 2012, October 23-29th
2012 “Enhancing diversity in climate change science and applications: from models to Adaptation” National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado
USEPA’s 2012 Southeast Regional Environmental Justice Conference: Promoting Environmental Justice through Effective Education, Collaboration, and Mobilization, August 16-17, 2012, Atlanta, Georgia.
In keeping with new global experience initiative, Spelman College is rapidly expanding the offerings for global experiences for its students. Global internships and “Study Abroad” are the next frontier for opportunities for students to gain practical experience in sustainability issues facing people all around the world. We will continue to provide and expand these research and networking opportunities to our students in the future.
Spelman’s sustainability community participation is wide and diverse including:
Spelman College / USEPA Collegiate Environmental Sustainability Initiative: Spelman College entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USEPA to develop a mutually-beneficial relationship designed to enhance the College’s environmental policy and science curricula, develop peer review, analytical and research relationships; and produce internships, sabbatical, and employment opportunities for student candidates at USEPA. Spelman has hosted several USEPA conferences on campus.
Partnership with UNCF: In 2009, the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building received a grant from the Kresge Foundation to develop a program to advance building green at Minority Serving Institutions. Spelman College’s President, faculty, staff, and students are heavily involved with the UNCF Building Green at MSI initiative.. The UNCF Building Green at MSIs Initiative was established to build knowledge and capacity, through a series of Building Green Learning Institutes, Technical Assistance Workshops and mini-grants, to help MSIs build green by incorporating principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency into building projects. In addition to collaborating with UNCF on conference planning, Spelman College students, faculty and staff have presented and participated in multiple conferences.
Community Service: Every student fulfills a community-service requirement beginning in her first year. Our 80 Bonner Scholars lead the way with at least 140 hours each semester and two summers of service-related internships. Earth Day was adopted by the Bonner Office as a day of community service. Students are heavily involved and use the day to educate the campus and community about sustainability issues.
In order to promote sustainability as a way of life for the Spelman Community, Sustainable Spelman Interns have been successful in creating social media accounts for Sustainable Spelman through Twitter and Facebook. Students have also developed the "Green is the New Spelman Blue" campaign.
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