Submitted on June 8, 2011; last updated on June 8, 2011
SUNY Orange will be constructing a detailed, comprehensive Climate Action Plan that will derive largely from an energy audit that will be conducted by the end of 2011. The energy audit will provide the necessary information from which to establish a climate neutrality date, as well as short-term and long-term target dates. Meanwhile, the College will continue to decrease its emissions via the various measures outlined in the SUNY Orange Interim Plan attached above.
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SUNY Orange completed a Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GGI) in March 2010 that estimates annual emissions from 2004 to present. The College’s Sustainability Committee has realized that properly evaluating potential mitigation measures using the GGI is a pre-requisite to formulating a quality Climate Action Plan, but that doing so first requires conducting a comprehensive energy audit of the College’s facilities. Such an audit will be completed by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, the College will continue implementing greenhouse gas mitigation measures as outlined in its Sustainability Master Plan (drafted Nov 2009) and the SUNY Orange Interim Plan attached above.
In the 2009-10 Academic Year SUNY Orange developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum and conducted a Sustainability Baseline (SB), an inventory of course content that is related to sustainability (in preparation for submission to the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System). The SB revealed that the College already offers several sustainability-related and sustainability-focused courses. More importantly, the College encourages faculty in multiple disciplines or departments to develop new sustainability courses and incorporate sustainability into existing courses or departments. In fact, an introductory sustainability course is currently being developed to meet the general elective needs of the student population.
As a community college SUNY Orange does not conduct formal research. However, the College will continue to explore ways to achieve climate neutrality not only through the implementation of its Sustainability Master Plan and Climate Action Plan, but also through periodic re-assessment and possible modification of these documents. To provide incentive and financial support for “grassroots” ideas on how the College can make its environmental footprint more sustainable, the College established in Fall 2009 a Sustainability Fund as part of its annual budget. This fund awards monies to projects proposed by faculty, staff, or students that both reduce the College’s environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, and educate the College community about the sustainability issues the projects address.
As specified in its Sustainability Master Plan, SUNY Orange intends to expand its community outreach by coordinating with appropriate municipal and county bodies to strengthen public transit systems and by partnering with the cities of Middletown and Newburgh to create a framework for student internships. The College has raised awareness of sustainability issues within the local community through numerous events, such as its yearlong Global Initiative program on Sustainability (2009), Natural Heritage Forum (Fall 2010), and annual Earth Week celebration (April). Moreover, The College’s Biology Department has forged ongoing partnerships with several local organizations since 2005 within a few of its courses, where students have collaborated with these organizations in conducting projects relating to water quality, impacts of climate change, and wildlife surveys.
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