Introducing the Institute
Franklin Pierce is stepping up to the challenge of climate change. The new Institute, which began operations in the fall of 2019, is dedicated to raising awareness of this challenge and promoting efforts to meet it, in the University curriculum and its culture, in campus operations, and in the local region and beyond.
A re-purposing of the former Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture, the organization’s structure includes two components: the Campus Sustainability Council, focused on best practices in such areas as energy use and minimization of food waste; and the Community Climate Consortium, looking to create partnerships with other area organizations pursuing climate work.
Global climate change poses an unprecedented, urgent challenge to the natural environment and to the quality, even the continuance, of human life. Franklin Pierce University’s Institute for Climate Action seeks to raise awareness of this challenge and promote efforts to meet it. This aim will be pursued under the broad concept of sustainability and within three distinct but related mission areas:
Aid in the conceptualization and development of curriculum and instruction, together with co-curricular programming, needed to prepare students to serve as responsible citizens and leaders of their communities, and where appropriate as trained experts, meeting the challenges of climate change.
Campus Operations and Culture
Assist in the planning, coordination, and assessment of best practices for climate action and sustainability in all aspects of campus operations, and take steps to build a campus-wide community attuned to the issues of climate change and actively seeking solutions, both large and small.
Form partnerships with organizations and educational institutions in the local region and where feasible beyond with the purposes of sharing experience and expertise, opening internship opportunities for students, and building the strong networks needed to mobilize public will behind effective climate action.
Membership in the Institute is interdisciplinary, drawing faculty from all three of the University’s Colleges, and is open to staff members, students, and local residents, as well. Much of the good feeling that prevails at our meetings, and much of the success of our initial ventures can be attributed to this democratic mix of participants, and in particular to the energy and dedication of our student members.
We welcome new recruits to the Institute, and the cause of climate action, at any time. Everyone, regardless of background, has something to contribute.
- Dr. Jerry Burns, Prof. of English
- Dr. Catherine Owen Koning, Prof. of Environmental Science
- Rudra Aryal - Assistant Professor of Physics
- Jim Bingham -Assistant Director of Information Technology
- Andrew Bloch - Visiting Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
- Lisa Bomba - Lab Supervisor & Lecturer in Environmental Science
- Jessie Bouley - Class of 2024
- Tristan Burlingame - Class of 2023
- Doug Carty - Director of Campus Recreation
- Laura Christoph - Associate Professor of Health Sciences
- Alexandra Contino - Class of 2021
- Verna DeLauer - Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
- Maria DePierro - Class of 2021
- Erin Egan - Class of 2021
- John Harris - Professor of English & Environmental Studies
- Kassie Jaskolski - Class of 2020
- Dena Kossakowski - Class of 2021
- Paul Jenkins - University Librarian
- Doug Lear - Director of Facilities
- Alyssa Lewis - Class of 2021
- Pat Martin - Monadnock Sustainability Hub
- Michael Mooiman - Professor of Business & Management
- Sammie Norwood - Class of 2023
- Ayodele Ouhuru - Class of 2020
- Rachel Ranelli - Class of 2024
- Isabel Rasmussen - Class of 2023
- Fred Rogers - Professor of Geology & Environmental Science
- Stephanie Scherr - Class of 1997
- Rhine Singleton - Professor of Environmental Science
The Institute for Climate Action works as Subcommittees in the following areas:
- Events and Communications (see Events and
- Newsletters tabs)
- “Green Fee” funding mechanism
- Energy: Renewable sources, and Energy Conservation
- Food: Plant-based Diet/Local Foods
- Orientation for new students
- “Road Show” – traveling educational campaign
- Waste/Compost/Recycling on Campus
While FPU offers courses in environmental and earth sciences in major and minor courses as well as general education (GLE) that highlight climate issues, overall attention falls far short of the magnitude and the urgency of the “problem,” and short also, of the increasing demand for more climate education on the part of a younger generation of students.
To date the efforts of the Subcommittee have focused on gathering information about practices elsewhere. Ayodele O’uhuru has discovered through her Senior Capstone research that some schools require climate issues to be addressed in every major, while others integrate climate into the general education curriculum.
Members of the Subcommittee are considering these two approaches, or perhaps a combination of both, as the best means of ramping up climate instruction at Franklin Pierce.
Green Fee funding mechanism
The goal of the Green Fee Pledge is to bring awareness to the commitment signed by the university stating it would help promote the research, education, and community engagement efforts needed to create a sustainable society, and to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from in campus operations. This Pledge would be given to all students in the form of a letter.
The fee would be $23.90, which Ayo O’uhuru (Class of 2020) came up with by adding $19.70, the year of the first Earth Day, plus $4.20, the day of the first Earth Day. The fees will aid campus-wide improvements such as: motion sensored lights, possible solar array, converting buildings to LEED, giving out orientation packages to all incoming students (reusable mugs, etc.), improvements to residential dorm bathrooms and kitchenettes, along with creating new job opportunity for students within residential life as an Ecorep.
Our next steps will be to craft the wording of the Pledge letter, and to present the plan to the Student Government Association board for student approval, then Student Financial Services.
Energy: Renewable sources, and Energy Conservation
The subcommittee for renewable energy and energy conservation on campus and in the community has begun to take action. Doug Lear, Director of Facilities at Franklin Pierce University, recently worked with consultants to conduct an energy audit, which shows how much energy the campus uses by building.
This audit focused on some of the larger buildings and measured electrical use. Results of this audit will be reviewed and necessary actions identified. This subcommittee will be updating the 2016 FPU Climate Action Plan and the Greenhouse Gas Inventory. We have also investigated other options, such as heating using purified waste vegetable oil.
Members of this committee are participating in the Monadnock Sustainability Hub’s Community Power group, which is working with statewide organizations to be able to provide clean, green electricity to homeowners in the region through buyer’s collectives.
The ICA worked with Director of Facilities Doug Lear to discuss locations for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on campus, to generate clean electricity. In the summer of 2020, Doug approached Revision Energy about using a power purchase agreement to put 244 kW of PV on the field house roof; their proposal received preliminary approval from FPU and is slated for installation in Nov. 2020.
This will supply about 10% of FPU’s electricity needs. Alyssa Lewis ‘21 and Hannah Cuzner identified two possible locations for two ground mounted installations totaling about 5 acres, which would generate 50% of our electricity needs on the Rindge campus!
The next step is to assess the ecological and social impacts of these large-scale photovoltaic projects, and to work with Revision Energy and other groups to investigate their affordability.
Plant-based Diet/ Local Foods
The plant-based diet subcommittee’s goal is to create a more sustainable diet for the Franklin Pierce campus. In February, we met with Rebecca Hunt and John Benouski, Sodexo’s dietitian and manager to develop an action plan. The goal over the next year is to offer more plant-based options, taking student suggestions into consideration, and provide education on preparing plant-based options both in the cafeteria and in dorm rooms/apartments.
To start the collaboration, Sodexo and the ICA teamed together for Wellness Wednesday where students created their own avocado toast, and learned more about plant based food choices.
Next, a video segment for the Academic Showcase was put together to introduce students to the benefits of plant-based eating for individual health, as well as the health of our planet, provide instruction on preparing simple and cost-effective plant-based meals and snacks in a college dorm room or apartment, and help students navigate healthy and sustainable choices offered on campus.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, and all institute efforts moving to a virtual platform, the Fitzwater Center approached Dr. Christoph to host a cooking show that showcases mainly plant-based options.
“Christoph’s Kitchen” aired each Wednesday through April and May. Recently, the decision was made to continue the show throughout the summer, and two student hosts have been added to the show each week in order to better speak to the college students’ experiences.
New Student Orientation
The main goal of this subcommittee is to find an effective way to make resources regarding climate awareness and sustainability available to the incoming class. Subcommittee members, Professor John Harris and student Tristan Burlingame, determined that the best way to present the information was through a short, engaging film rather than a live presentation.
The film would feature current students and would also show the outdoor opportunities that are available to our community such as: on and off campus hiking trails, guided walks, and nature restoration projects.
We intend to create resource material such as eco-friendly college supply lists to provide to students on the website.
“Road Show” - Traveling Educational Campaign
As part of an educational institution, the Institute for Climate Action is assembling a series of lectures and events designed to improve people’s understanding of the climate crisis. We have created a flexible talk that could be tailored to each audience, ranging from middle school children to adults in the Rotary Club, the Women’s Club and other civic groups that meet regularly but do not necessarily focus on environmental issues.
Prior to the COVID19 crisis, our intent had been to launch the lecture series in May 2020, but our target now is Fall 2020, either virtually or in person.
Fred Rogers, Jerry Burns, Catherine Koning, Pat Martin and Alyssa Lewis are involved with this subcommittee, please contact Fred Rogers at email@example.com if your group would like to learn about the climate crisis.
Anything that gets thrown in the trash contributes to climate change! That is because our trash is either burned, producing carbon dioxide, or buried in a landfill, where it produces methane. Both carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases that trap in heat, warming the planet and profoundly altering our climate.
So, we have to do everything we can to reduce the waste we produce.
This starts with REDUCING the items you buy, trying to choose items with less packaging, re-use your bags, etc.
We can also REUSE items rather than throw them away.
Finally, we all have to RECYCLE.
Recycling has become quite challenging since China stopped buying our materials. One of the reasons they stopped was that our recyclable material was very dirty and contaminated with items that can’t be recycled; sorting and cleaning costs more money than they can make from recycling it. Plastic has always been difficult to recycle, and now there aren’t enough companies who want it, so many towns are not accepting plastic. Aluminum, cardboard and paper are still commonly recycled.
The Institute for Climate Action is currently exploring ways to get the FPU community to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.
To fulfill our commitment to climate neutrality, Franklin Pierce’s Ecological Conscience Initiative grew into the Sustainability Council, which leads a campus sustainability effort.
The Sustainability Council works with the Sustainability Center and various groups to offer events for the entire campus community, such as:
- Campus Sustainability Day (each October)
- Earth Week (each April)
- Energy Conservation and Recycling Contests
- Guest Speakers
- Film Festivals
- Zero-Waste Move-Out Days
Its monthly meetings are listed on the campus Calendar of Events. Council work also happens between meetings, and new members are always welcome.
Current members of the Sustainability Council:
- Prof. Catherine Koning, Environmental Science
- Verna DeLauer, Environmental Studies
- Prof. John Harris, Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place & Culture
- Jim Bingham, Information Technology
- Doug Lear, Director of Facilities
- Michael Mooiman, Director of the MBA in Energy & Sustainability Studies
- Doug Carty, Adventure Recreation
- Student Government Association and Class Representatives
Represented offices include Facilities, Purchasing, Finance, Environmental Services, Residential Life, Information Technology, Environmental Sciences & Environmental Studies programs, Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture, Student Affairs, and more.
We act in the following areas to reduce our carbon footprint:
- Energy and land protection
- Purchasing and printing
- Sodexo food services
The following tabs contain additional information regarding our sustainability in action.
Replacing fossil fuel boilers with wood pellet boilers for heating campus buildings saves 49,000 gallons of oil and 109,000 gallons of propane per year. It also reduces equivalent CO2 production by 618 metric tons.
Some energy-saving strategies we integrated include:
- Wind, solar, and geo-thermal energy
- Energy efficient structure
- Radiant heating system
- PSNH energy efficiency Program rebate
- Energy efficient air-cooled chiller
- High-efficiency T-5 fluorescent fixtures
- Energy-efficient LED exit signs
- Incandescent to fluorescent fixtures
- New thermo-pane windows
- Energy Star purchasing program
- Water conservation program
- Four-day work week (summers)
- Switched to Biodiesel
- MacGray Company Washers-Dryers
- Recycling (including computers, electronics, glass, aluminum, plastics, paper, and cardboard)
We are one of only a handful of higher learning institutions to place permanent, legal restrictions on undeveloped land near campus.
In 2005, a 46-acre parcel of wetlands and upland forest was protected with a conservation easement held by the Monadnock Conservancy Land Trust, creating a wildlife corridor connecting Pool Pond and Pearly Pond. Franklin Pierce received national recognition for these efforts by the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology program.
Based on a study by David Graham-Wolf for the Rindge Conservation Commission, a 300-acre parcel of land owned by Franklin Pierce was identified as having high-quality habitat and conservation value, and the Sustainability Council is working to protect additional land.
Energy Star Purchasing Policy: Franklin Pierce University's Energy Star Purchasing Program applies to all appliances, refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, heating and cooling equipment, and vending machines.
Office Supplies: Franklin Pierce has contracted with W.B. Mason as its supplier of office supply products. Both the University and W.B. Mason strongly recommend the use of recycled items.
All recycled items are branded with the recycled symbol. Last year the University used 35% of recycled items.
LVI, the commercial printer of our Admissions materials, has earned the Forest Stewardship Council’s Chain of Custody Certification for meeting international standards for environmentally responsible use of paper and other forest products.
All our printers use a soy-based ink for printing. Compared to traditional petroleum-based ink, soy-based ink is more environmentally responsible and makes it easier to recycle paper.
Our Copy Center encourages double-sided copying. Photocopying jobs sent to the Copy Center use less energy and less ink than those that are done on smaller photocopiers around campus, so we encourage departments to send all copy jobs larger than 35 copies to the Copy Center.
Sodexo and the Real Food Challenge, a student-led food justice organization, signed a Food Chain Transparency Agreement in 2013. Sodexo designed innovative kitchen and dining hall management systems to reduce the amount of energy and water used in food storage and preparation, and to minimize waste. In addition to these larger corporate efforts, Sodexo at Franklin Pierce University has taken the following actions to promote sustainability:
Locally sourced foods
Sodexo paired with Black River Produce to offer expanded selection of fresh produce, dairy, and prepared foods from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, including many organic foods, fair-trade coffee, antibiotic-free poultry, and other foods. Locally- or regionally grown produce reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from processing, storing, and shipping, and supports a healthy regional agricultural community.
Sodexo participates in Food Day, Campus Sustainability Day, Earth Week, and other special events on campus to celebrate and promote local food.
Reducing solid waste
- Trayless dining
- One napkin-at-a-time dispensing
- Apex dishwashing system
For detailed information on Sodexo's commitment to sustainability and the environment watch their video.
Franklin Pierce is stepping up to the challenge of climate change. The new Institute, which began operations in the fall of 2019, is dedicated to a mission of raising awareness of this challenge and promoting efforts to meet it, in the University curriculum and its culture, in campus operations, and in the local region and beyond.
The Institute for Climate Action hires student interns every year.
Interns participate in two to three Action Areas (through subcommittees), and work together with the ICA group to plan and hold events, update social media, create newsletters, and create change!
This is a paid internship, and interested students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Institute for Climate Action is honored to partner with and support the work of a number of wonderful organizations around the local area, the region, the state and the country to work on the climate crisis. A few of these organizations are shown below:
350.org is international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.
Antioch University Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience
Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience delivers applied research, consulting, and education and training. Our approach is solutions oriented, pragmatic, participatory, and inclusive and is based on change leadership best practices and systems thinking. We focus on stakeholder capacity building at the local scale (watershed, municipal, county, region) of preparedness and resilience nationally and internationally, with an explicit awareness of social and climate justice.
Citizen's Climate Lobby
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
Clean Energy New Hampshire
Clean Energy New Hampshire's mission is to promote clean energy and technologies through education and advocacy for a stronger economic future.
League of Conservation Voters
League of Conservation Voters influence's policy, hold politicians accountable, and win elections. This is how we fight to build a world with clean air, clean water, public lands, and a safe climate that are protected by a just and equitable democracy.
Monadnock Sustainability Hub
The Monadnock Sustainability Hub was formed as a merger between the Monadnock Sustainability Network and the the Monadnock Energy Hub. This strategic joining of forces allows us to better address energy efficiency, electric transportation, renewable energy and other sustainability issues with in our towns.
We are building a broad community effort as we fight for a cleaner, safer, & more resilient Monadnock Region.
Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.
Cultivating and Celebrating a Sense of Place
The Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture aims to help individuals and communities learn about their place and renew commitment to preserving its physical environment and culture, while recognizing the importance of natural, built, social and cultural environments on individual, group and communal levels of identity.
"From Hurricane to Climate Change" Documentary Trailer
"From Hurricane to Climate Change" is a documentary film produced by the Monadnock Institute at Franklin Pierce University. The film has been funded thus far by grants from the Putnam Foundation and the New Hampshire Humanities Council.
It explores the impact on lives and communities of the great New England Hurricane of 1938 and more recent extreme weather events in the Monadnock region of southwest New Hampshire that scientists claim are the result of global climate change.
The film highlights the contemporary efforts of local communities to both adapt the infrastructure of the region to climate change and to mitigate its future impact through building new local institutions of economic and ecological sustainability.
“The goal of the Institute is to help individuals and communities learn about their place and renew a commitment to preserving its physical environment and culture.”
Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire’s North Country
Beyond the Notches features 400 pages of non-fiction writing by authors who have intimate knowledge of this distinctive region, as well as breath-taking photographs, original artwork and historic maps.
Organized into five sections—First Stories, Transformation and Change, Working the Land, Conservation and Recreation, and Competing Visions—the volume includes new work by John Harrigan, Barbara Tetreault, Peter Crane, Rebecca Brown, Steve Smith, Edie Clark, Fran Lavoie, Ernest Hebert, Tom Eastman, and Jack McEnany, among others.
In addition, Beyond the Notchesincludes essays by five North Country high school students.Shop Now
View a complete Table of Contents for Beyond the Notches.
We are open to new members who would like to take action to address the climate crisis. Students, staff, faculty and members of the local communities or other interested individuals are all welcome!
If you would like to join us, send an email to email@example.com.
We care deeply about the climate. In 2007, Franklin Pierce University joined other higher education institutions committed to climate neutrality by signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
Our Commitment to the Climate
Our strong commitment to the environment is deeply rooted in the rich, natural setting of our main campus in Rindge.
With over 1000 acres of undeveloped forests, fields, wetlands, and lake shore, the land provides excellent opportunities for experiential learning about ecology, as well as the impacts of humans on the natural world. FPU’s climate commitment was first set in motion by Franklin Pierce’s Ecological Conscience Initiative. It was endorsed by President Gorge Hagerty and garnered full support of faculty in 1998.
This initiative affirms that ecological conscience is a collective awareness of the effects of our actions on all aspects of the ecological community. It is a demonstrated respect for that community. FPU is also a member of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and has been represented in AASHE conferences and publications.
In 2021, Franklin Pierce added a 162 KW solar array with 490 solar panels to the Fieldhouse and installed an electric vehicle charging station on campus.
- CO2 savings: 195,624 lbs or Gallons of gas not burned: 9,981
- Passenger cars removed from road: 19
- Gallons of propane not burned: 15,409
- Pounds of coal not burned: 2,135
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The following sections provide additional information for commonly asked questions about sustainability and recycling.
Climate neutrality is defined as having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is achieved by minimizing GHG emissions as much as possible and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions (President’s Climate Commitment, 2009).
- Use more active transportation like walking and biking instead of driving a vehicle.
- Share rides. The CampusWeb Ride Share Board makes it easy!
- Unplug electronic devices when not in use.
- Use smart strips to power off multiple devices at once.
- Recycle. Recycling reduces the need for new materials to be extracted from the earth, transported, process, and packaged, and reduces landfill waste that creates greenhouse gases and pollution. Recycling also helps protect wildlife habitat, which in turn helps keep CO2 out of the atmosphere. Participate in zero-waste move-out.
- Donate your reusable goods instead of sending them to the landfill.
- Grow your own food. The campus garden and campus greenhouse are a resource for food, learning, and community for all.
- Participate in other learning and action events throughout the year.
The following items can be recycled in any recycling container or specially marked recycling dumpster:
- Cardboard (wavy center layer) and boxboard (flat cardboard): NO PIZZA BOXES with any grease or food
- Mixed paper (magazines, office paper, junk mail, etc.)
- Plastic: #1 and #2 ONLY – Washed out, TOPS REMOVED. These have a little 1 or 2 stamped on the bottom and typically have narrower openings than bottoms, like water bottles, laundry, shampoo, milk jugs; NOT yogurt or most food containers
- Aluminum and steel cans
At this time, we cannot put any of the following materials in the recycling containers:
- No glass of any kind (our recycler can’t sell it, so they won’t accept it)
- No plastic bags of any kind (not even bagged recyclables)
- No plastic films, wraps, or trays
- No Styrofoam of any kind
- No coated paper such as waxed cups or milk cartons
- No clothing or textiles (clothes can be recycled in the Planet Aid Boxes behind Marcucella and in front of Petrocelli)
- No food waste or liquids of any kind
- No batteries (Lithium ion/rechargeable batteries cannot be thrown into the trash, they must be taken to IT or Facilities for proper disposal)
- No electronic waste (can be taken to IT for recycling)
- No scrap metal (can be taken to Facilities for recycling)
- No ropes, cords, other items that will tangle the sorting machinery
If you want to reduce your impact on the environment, try to reduce your use of disposable items. For example, bring your own reusable bag to the store, fill up your own reusable water bottle, etc.
- Birds of the Monadnock Region Checklist [PDF]
- Birds of Pearly Pond [PDF]
- FPU Recycles [PDF]
- Goose Management Report by Catherine Koning - Dec. 2018 [PDF]
- Lakeview Drainage Basin Poster [PDF]
- Long-term Variable Milfoil Management Plan [PDF]
- Long-term Variable Milfoil Management Plan Poster [PDF]
- Pearly Pond Lake Management Brochure - Tips for Homeowners [PDF]
- Watershed Restoration Plan for Pearly Pond [PDF