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Press Release

Contact:
Barbara Laskin
651-696-6203

Macalester College to be Carbon Neutral by 2025
Goal is part of comprehensive climate action plan

Thumbnail of Macalester's Sustainability Plan

September 17, 2009 - St. Paul, Minn. - Macalester College has completed its first long-term strategic plan to combat climate change. Among the college’s goals:

    • Achieving carbon neutrality by 2025
    • Eliminating waste by 2020 (zero waste)
    • Integrating sustainability into curriculum and student programs
    • Adopting a “green building” policy to reduce emissions in facility construction and operations
    • Decreasing carbon emissions from travel
    • Adopting a responsible purchasing policy

"The threats posed by global climate change to our survival are daunting," says Macalester President Brian Rosenberg. "This plan demonstrates our commitment to living our values and preparing each generation to confront the challenges they will face in the years ahead. We hope that in 2025 our first-year students will be proud to attend a college that has successfully demonstrated leadership in sustainability and is carbon neutral.”

Macalester’s plan has been submitted to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Macalester’s strategic sustainability plan underscores its leadership among American colleges and universities in addressing climate change, explains Suzanne Hansen, sustainability manager. Only 88 of the approximately 400 colleges and universities who were to have submitted plans this week did so, and few of those plans are as ambitious and broad as Macalester’s. To review the plans, go to http://acupcc.aashe.org/.

For the past three decades, Macalester has proactively implemented numerous sustainable practices. However, until now the college has never set specific, measurable, and tangible goals for sustainability that will touch every part of the institution. The plan, created through a year long, campus-wide process led by the college’s Office of Sustainability, reflects Macalester’s commitment to addressing climate change.

“Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff participated in the development of this plan, and it is through their commitment and vision that the college will make meaningful changes to reduce its carbon footprint,” says Hansen.

As an early signatory of the ACUPCC, Macalester receives support and resources to help achieve climate objectives. The college also participates in a supportive network of peer institutions that share insights into best practices. Six hundred fifty college and university presidents have joined the ACUPCC, a comprehensive climate change initiative through which schools commit to neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses, dedicate research and programs to the development of climate change solutions, and train their graduates to address the climate crisis.

“I congratulate Macalester College on its commitment to climate neutrality and for contributing to this first sector-wide effort at creating climate action plans,” says Toni Nelson, ACUPCC program director. “The collective impact of schools throughout the nation fighting climate change is tremendous,” she adds.

About Macalester
Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,858 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. For more information or to read the Sustainability Plan, visit macalester.edu

About the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
Launched in 2007, the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is a network of 650 signatory schools, representing all fifty states and the District of Columbia. This high-visibility effort to address global warming garners institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The ACUPCC is led by a Steering Committee comprised of more than 20 university and college presidents, including three co-chairs: Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University; Mary Spangler, Chancellor of Houston Community College; and David Shi, President of Furman University.  The lead supporting organization of the initiative is the national nonprofit Second Nature, based in Boston. For more information, visit: presidentsclimatecommitment.org