Alfred State has signed the “Commitment to Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions,” joining almost 200 other college and universities worldwide. It is one of many voluntary commitments to support sustainability initiatives made as part of Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which began meeting on June 20.
“Signing this document demonstrates our strong and continued commitment to sustainability, which we hope will be matched by the participants in the Rio+20 meetings,” said John M. Anderson, president of Alfred State.
By pledging to instruct and encourage research on sustainable concepts, adopt sustainable practices on campus, support such efforts in the community, and engage with international networks to share results, the college reaffirms its existing commitment to technologies and concepts that support a sustainable future. Alfred State already hosts a number of related efforts and objectives, including:
- The Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA ), with its organic and conventional herds as well as hands-on learning about sustainable crop production.
- The zero energy green home  on the Wellsville campus that consumes only what energy it produces through geothermal, solar, photovoltaic and wind systems.
- The U.S. National Arboretum project , where students installed the first solar-powered irrigation system at the Arboretum and trained technicians on its use.
- A student- and faculty-designed solar-powered telemetry system for the Atlantic Richfield wetland treatment system in Wellsville .
- Renewable energy and sustainability modules in existing college programs .
- An alternative fuels laboratory with a fleet of alternative fuel vehicles.
- An array of photovoltaic panels, constructed by students, powering the Wellsville campus library .
The Rio+20 Conference, the 2012 meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, focuses on “a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication, and … the institutional framework for sustainable development,” according to the conference website. Governments, international institutions, and major groups will meet and discuss measures that address environmental issues and reduce poverty. This event marks 20 years since the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. [www.uncsd2012.org ]