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Lycoming College President James Douthat has called upon all members of the College community to support initiatives to reduce carbon emissions on campus. On Wednesday, April 20, during a ceremony on the steps of Long Hall, Douthat signed the Lycoming College Climate Commitment pledge. Members of the campus community were then invited to add their signature to a Climate Commitment banner to be displayed on campus.
"This is an interesting and important step for the College," said Douthat. "It also is important to note that the document I signed is authorized by the board of trustees, so this becomes an institutional commitment. The pledge produces a new set of responsibilities, a new process and a new procedure for many people on this campus, including the students, as we move forward with this commitment."
The Lycoming pledge was crafted by the College's sustainability committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Neil Boyd, chair of the business administration department, and Dr. Mel Zimmerman, professor of biology and director of the College's Clean Water Institute.
"This is a great day to think about how organizations connect to their physical environments," said Boyd. "Today's event is a celebration of a milestone for the College, a top-down institutional affirmation and commitment to environmental sustainability. We are committed to win-win situations, where we can help the environment and at the same time help the institution with its fiduciary goals. Today's event is clearly a testimony to the hard work of the entire sustainability committee."
Modified from the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, Lycoming's pledge affirms the belief that institutions of higher learning must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to reduce carbon emissions and promoting positive stewardship of the earth.
Making emissions reduction and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for students will be a priority. The College recently developed a sustainable business management track within its business administration major as well as an interdisciplinary environmental sustainability minor. Solar panels have been installed on top of the Heim Building and an on-campus biodiesel production facility was recently opened. Additionally, the College dining hall is now trayless, which is helping to reduce energy, water and soap consumption and food waste.
The College's building and grounds members have been significantly involved in a variety of the sustainability efforts on campus, ranging from recycling to energy conservation initiatives.
In response to the commitment, Lycoming will begin developing a comprehensive plan to continue to lower total carbon emissions. All greenhouse gas emissions will be inventoried annually to track progress. The College will establish a policy to build all new campus construction to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent. Renovation projects will also adhere to environmental guidelines. Additional carbon-reducing activities include implementation of an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy and continued participation in the national RecycleMania competition.
Lycoming College is a national liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. It is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1812 in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.