Franklin Pierce Commits to Becoming "Climate Neutral"

January 15, 2008 

Campus wetlandsRINGDE, NH - Franklin Pierce University has pledged to sharply reduce all of the University's carbon emissions in a major effort to help combat global warming.

The pledge is part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which President George J. Hagerty signed, joining more than 400 leaders of other colleges and universities across the country. It is modeled on the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, a compact started in 2005 that has been signed by 400 mayors.

Franklin Pierce has committed to creating a comprehensive university plan to move toward climate neutrality - to having no net greenhouse gas emissions. That means minimizing such emissions as much as possible and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions.

Responding to the 'challenge of our time"

"Global warming is a major challenge of our time," said President Hagerty. "It is a problem caused by human activities and one that can be solved by humans. By joining forces, colleges and universities can take a leading role on this important issue."

Specifically, Franklin Pierce and the other higher education institutions have pledged to create a comprehensive institutional action plan to move toward climate neutrality. President Hagerty has named Dr. Catherine Owen Koning, professor of environmental science, and Douglas Lear, Director of Facilities, to spearhead the institutional efforts. They will form a committee of faculty, students and staff to develop the climate action plan, which must be completed in two years.

In addition, in the short term, Franklin Pierce will take some immediate steps including: conducting an inventory of the University's greenhouse gas emissions, adopting an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy and participating in RecyleMania, a friendly competition among university and college campuses to increase recycling and reduce waste.

As part of the commitment, Franklin Pierce also has agreed to integrate sustainability into the curriculum and to make its plan and periodic progress reports public.

Much progress already accomplished

Franklin Pierce has already taken several energy-saving steps, President Hagerty points out, including:

• establishing a campus-wide recycling program,

• replacing paper production with online alternatives whenever possible,

• switching most lighting on campus from incandescent to fluorescent,

• installing aerators in many faucets to reduce the amount of water flow,

• maintaining more than 1000 acres of undeveloped land,

• protecting 46 acres of land with a conservation easement,

• building walkways to encourage walking on campus, and

• creating a campus master plan that brings all residential students onto the main campus, which reduces driving.

Other ideas that will be explored include adopting green building standards for all new construction, looking for alternative sources of power for heat and electricity, establishing a climate-friendly investment policy and more.

More information about the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment program can be found at www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org. The site includes the list of signatories; there are several other New Hampshire colleges or universities that are participating.