President signs climate commitment

April 7, 2009 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu

Dr. Joseph Lee, president of Saint Joseph's College, has joined with other college presidents nationally to embrace environmental responsibility by signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). By signing the document, Dr. Lee commits the college to creating a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and educational leadership on raising awareness of global warming.

A large student gathering witnessed the signing on Monday, April 6, where Lee praised the efforts of campus sustainability coordinator Dr. Jeanne Gulnick. "We have dramatically increased recycling, food composting, green cleaning products and measurement of electricity use," Lee said. He also noted the efforts of campus eco-representatives in the residence halls, who educate students about environmental ethics and actions.

The ACUPCC aims to create institution-wide action plans that move toward climate neutrality, whereby there are no net greenhouse gas emissions. This can be achieved through minimizing emissions, increasing renewable energy sources, and using carbon offsets or other means to mitigate emissions. The commitment involves developing a comprehensive plan and mechanism to guide it, completing a greenhouse gas inventory, and initiating some corrective actions even before the final plan is developed. These actions might include adopting green standards for buildings, encouraging public transportation, purchasing energy from renewable sources, minimizing waste generated on campus, offsetting emissions due to air travel, and buying energy efficient products.