Submitted on September 15, 2010; last updated on May 23, 2011
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The Aquinas College Joint Sustainability Committee and the Center for Sustainability have established a series of feasible and measurable goals as a means of managing the College’s effort toward carbon neutrality. As an institution, Aquinas has set the goal of climate neutrality by 2040. For the purpose of the Climate Action Plan, all reduction targets are based upon the 2008 Carbon Emissions report submitted to the ACUPCC reporting system.
Our 30-year Climate Action Plan focuses on six key areas of continual improvement: Built Environment, Land Use, Solid Waste Management, and Transportation, The Human Factor and Leading and Learning. A diverse portfolio of strategies – including operational, technical, educational, behavioral, and financial approaches—comprise our approach for each of the six key areas identified above. All of these approaches will require resolve, partnership, and persistence throughout the planning period.
Energy conservation will be the first strategy used to decrease Aquinas' carbon footprint, followed by generating renewable energy on-campus, purchasing green power, and purchasing offsets as a last resort.
Developing and updating Aquinas' Climate Action Plan is in keeping with the college's commitment to innovation and learning for sustainability. Recent innovation includes launching the first Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Business degree in the nation, creating the community-focused Center for Sustainability (C4S), and the development of a Master of Sustainable Business degree. Additionally, as a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Aquinas College hopes to serve as a model for implementation strategies among small campuses throughout the nation by aggressively tackling carbon emissions reduction efforts and behavioral change at individual and institutional levels.
Sustainable Business interns will be integral to the updating process of both the carbon footprint and the climate action plan for the ACUPCC. Specific energy-related programs have been and will continue to be a part of the curriculum of several Sustainable Classes. Furthermore, the standing sustainability committees at the staff, faculty, and student levels will continue to be engaged in the challenge of climate neutrality.
The Center for Sustainability will continue to foster faculty involvement in climate change and sustainability scholarship and teaching. It is anticipated that applied research activities will continue to engage students as well as community partners through existing institutes, curricular, and co-curricular programs including the Community Leadership Institute, The Center for Sustainability and the Sustainable Business Department.
Aquinas' Sustainability Initiative web site will continue to be updated, reflecting the institution's progress.
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