Sustainability at MxCC
MxCC is Going Green!
MxCC strives to lead the sustainability efforts of the region through modeling sustainable practices and educating students and the community about conservation and environmental stewardship. In April 2012, MxCC President Anna Wasescha signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and we are now in the process of developing an institutional plan for climate neutrality.
Our new sustainable landscaping is a shining example of MxCC’s commitment to sustainability. Nancy Ballek Mackinnon, a partner in Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, met with the Sustainability Team and other staff of the college, and created designs for the Community/Demonstration Garden, the Human Equity Garden, four rain gardens (one of which is planted outside of Founders Hall), an intentional meadow, plantings surround the approach and signage to the college, and other spaces on campus. Learn more about the green features of the sustainable landscape project at MxCC.
We are incorporating sustainability initiatives into every aspect of the college, including daily operations, curriculum, student life, and community outreach.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Go Green Reports
How serious are we about going green? Check back here in the near future as we bring you our first Go Green reports.
To learn more about sustainable energy, please click here to visit the site our librarians and Sustainability team have created with a wealth of information on many "green" topics.
American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
We, the undersigned presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities, are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects. We recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely being caused by humans. We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming and to reestablish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible.
While we understand that there might be short-term challenges associated with this effort, we believe that there will be great short-, medium-, and long-term economic, health, social and environmental benefits, including achieving energy independence for the U.S. as quickly as possible.
We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate neutrality. Campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing global warming emissions and by integrating sustainability into their curriculum will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a thriving, ethical and civil society. These colleges and universities will be providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to address the critical, systemic challenges faced by the world in this new century and enable them to benefit from the economic opportunities that will arise as a result of solutions they develop.
We further believe that colleges and universities that exert 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.
Accordingly, we commit our institutions to taking the following steps in pursuit of climate neutrality:
1. Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.
a. Within two months of signing this document, create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan.
b. Within one year of signing this document, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) and update the inventory every other year thereafter.
c. Within two years of signing this document, develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral, which will include:
i. A target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible.
ii. Interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality.
iii. Actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students.
iv. Actions to expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality.
v. Mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.
vi. American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
2. Initiate two or more of the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed.
a. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
b. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.
c. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.
d. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.
e. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.
f. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution’s endowment is invested.
g. Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.
3. Make the action plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available by submitting them to the ACUPCC Reporting System for posting and dissemination.
In recognition of the need to build support for this effort among college and university administrations across America, we will encourage other presidents to join this effort and become signatories to this commitment.
Anna M. Wasescha, PhD.
President, Middlesex Community College
April, 16, 2012
Viewpoints on Sustainability from Second Nature
Creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society must be central to the core purpose of any organization in the 21st century. In the case of colleges and universities that means educating students and creating new knowledge through research, as well as modeling sustainability in operations and promoting sustainability through community engagement.
Why Public Reporting Matters
Setting goals, tracking progress and reporting results are standard business practices for any organization, business or initiative — and sustainability efforts in higher education are no exception. Public reporting on progress towards sustainability is a key driver for long-term success, and provides several benefits.
The Ultimate Stakes
Climate Change and the Fate of Civilization
Even for scientists, the challenge of global warming can be mind-boggling and complex, but the bottom line is both simple and clear. The change is already under way and hitting harder and faster than expected. And what is ultimately at stake is the human way of life we call civilization.