College presidents lead in the fight for carbon neutrality

By Jamie Hufnagle
August 30, 2007

Lisa Nipp for EcoAmerica

Cabrini is not on the list of over 300 colleges that recently united in a national organization to combat global warming on their campuses.

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is an effort to address global warming by gathering institutional commitments in order to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and to hasten the research and educational efforts of higher education with the intention to stabilize the earth’s climate.

“The College administration is aware of the University Presidents Climate Commitment and agrees with many of its elements, but because of our relatively small size and the age of some facilities and equipment on campus, Cabrini would prefer to approach the issues of carbon neutrality and self-sustainability individually rather than sign a document that we may not be able to honor one hundred percent,” Gene Castellano, vice president of marketing and communications, said.

Cabrini has made many efforts in regard to global warming with state-of-the-art energy management systems, “green” cleaning solutions, increased insulation in existing buildings and more recently, campus-wide recycling achieved over the summer.

Each institution involved with the committee will set specific strategies along with timetables in order to follow through with the goal of making their campuses carbon neutral. Each campus will also have a committee of students, faculty and staff to oversee the efforts.

?Those involved with the organization include institutions like Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania, colleges like Emerson, community colleges and public universities.

?According to, the presidents and chancellors who are joining and leading the commitment believe that exerting leadership in addressing climate change will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding and increase the support of alumni and local communities.

?Rev. Peter M. Donohue, president of Villanova University, signed the commitment in June and has created a comprehensive institutional action plan to move toward climate neutrality under his leadership at Villanova.

?”Global warming is a defining challenge of our time,” Donohue said in an email to Loquitur.

?”Human activities are responsible for the problem and working together, humans have the capacity to solve the problem. That means taking serious action today to stop adding global warming pollution to the atmosphere. Villanova University is committed to leading the way.”

?Leaders joined at a press conference in Washington promising to eliminate or offset greenhouse gases resulting from light bulbs in their buildings, from flights and car trips by their faculty down to the transportation of food to their dining halls.

?President Tom Galligan of Colby-Sawyer College is another among the list of presidents looking to use his leadership role to bring attention to global warming and its harmful effects.

?”Climate change is one of the most critical issues of our times and calling attention to it at the campus level both teaches and emphasizes higher education’s commitment to the public good,” Galligan said in an email to Loquitur.

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Jamie Hufnagle

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