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Help Prepare Alfred State’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
The President’s Office is soliciting comments from the Alfred State community on a discussion draft of Alfred State's Sustainability and Climate Action (pdf). The plan was developed by three taskforces following the planning process described below. Please submit comments to Julian Dautremont-Smith, chief sustainability officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, Dec. 4.
President Anderson signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in February 2010 and is currently playing a leadership role in the initiative by serving on the ACUPCC Steering Committee. A key component of the ACUPCC is the development of a climate action plan that includes a target date and interim milestones for achieving climate neutrality (i.e., having no net greenhouse gas emissions). Alfred State’s plan is due by Jan. 15, 2013. This document describes the process that will be used to develop Alfred State’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, taking into account the limited time available. Information about the requirements of the ACUPCC and examples of climate action plans from other institutions are available at acupcc.org.
- Sept. 10 – Taskforce membership finalized
- Oct. 15 – Taskforce drafts due
- Nov. 13 – Draft plan shared with college community for comment
- Dec. 12 – Revised plan shared with Presidents Council for approval
- Jan. 15 – Plan submitted to ACUPCC
The bulk of the plan will be developed by three taskforces, each with four to six members appointed by the President from a pool of volunteers. Volunteers will be selected with an eye towards ensuring key departments and stakeholder groups are represented. The three taskforces will be:
- Buildings Taskforce – focusing on reducing emissions generated from on-campus combustion for heating and cooling as well as electricity use.
- Transportation Taskforce – focusing on reducing emissions generated by the campus fleet (including state- and ACES-owned vehicles), student and employee commuting to and from campus, and air travel paid for by Alfred State.
- Education and Outreach Taskforce – focusing on integrating climate and sustainability into students’ educational experiences and community outreach.
Each taskforce will be charged with:
- setting quantitative and time-bound goals related to their issue area;
- developing a prioritized list of short and longer term strategies for achieving those goals; and
- recommending quantitative performance indicators to track progress.
The Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) will play a supporting role in taskforce meetings. In particular, the CSO will provide both coordination and technical support, including information about how other campuses are tackling similar challenges. To facilitate collaboration both within and between taskforces as well as to enhance transparency, the plan will be drafted in a Google Document that all taskforce members will be able to access and edit simultaneously. To assist taskforces in this task, example goals, strategies and performance indicators are provided in another supporting Google Document.
A Steering Committee comprised of the chair of each taskforce and the CSO will be responsible for setting overall institutional emissions targets and putting the plan as a whole together. After the first draft of the plan has been prepared, it will be shared with the campus community for comment. After comments have been received, the plan will be revised by the Steering Committee and send to the Presidents Council for approval.
Expectations of Taskforce Members
Each taskforce will meet approximately three times in September and the first half of October to establish goals, develop strategies for meeting those goals, and select indicators for tracking progress towards those goals. The taskforces will likely meet once or twice again in November and December after comments have been received on the draft plan to consider revisions to their sections of the plan based on the comments. Members will also be expected to do some work outside of meetings, including performing background research on potential strategies and writing brief descriptions of one or more strategies in the plan Google Document.
Goal Setting Approach
In keeping with Michelangelo’s notion that “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it!,” the goals in our climate action plan should be aspirational in nature (but not obviously impossible). This is consistent with the ACUPCC’s guidance that “plans are to be aspirational statements of intent rather than binding commitments.” It should also be noted that we have the flexibility to adjust their plans over time in response to new information and changing circumstances.
The major sections of the plan and the body responsible for each will be as follows:
1. Introduction (Steering Committee)
2. Campus Emissions (Steering Committee)
3. Emissions Targets (Steering Committee)
4. Mitigation Strategies
4.1. Buildings (Buildings Taskforce)
4.1.2. Heating and Cooling
4.2. Transportation (Transportation Taskforce)
4.2.1. Campus Fleet
4.2.3. Air Travel
5. Education and Outreach (Education and Outreach Taskforce)
5.2. Student Life
5.3. Community Outreach
6. Implementation and Monitoring (Steering Committee)