February 9, 2010

by Ilana Schoenfeld, Program Associate, Second Nature

Last week, Steve Muzzy and I attended an event hosted by E2/NRDC called “And A Child Shall Lead Us: How Students and Universities Are Leading on Climate Change.”

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national community of business leaders and professionals committed to protecting the environment in ways that build economic prosperity. NRDC’s policy and science experts work in partnership with E2 to identify critical environmental issues, key players, and strategic actions. Members of E2 are called upon to work with public officials to influence state and national policy—leveraging their business expertise to highlight the economic benefits of environmental policies.

We were thrilled to hear the work of the ACUPCC highlighted at this event. The speakers at the event included:

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February 3, 2010

by Martha J. Kanter, Under Secretary of Education

This is an exciting time for those of us who care deeply about the role of higher education in building a more sustainable world, and I would like to express my appreciation for the work of the organizations and institutions involved with the ACUPCC.  Before joining the U.S. Department of Education as Under Secretary I served as chancellor of the Foothill – De Anza Community College District in California and was a member of the ACUPCC Steering Committee.

Martha J. KanterI understand the important work that each of you perform for your institutions every day, and would like you to know that the Department of Education is a strong leader and partner in these efforts.  We are developing a ‘Green Team’ to help facilitate environmental literacy efforts, and President Obama has placed resources in the 2011 education budget specifically to support environmental literacy.

As the Department prepares for the first ‘Green Education’ Summit this summer here in Washington, we recognize our national responsibility to promote an interchange of sustainability ideas and coordination among key stakeholders.  Better linkages among K-12 education, higher education, and the non-profit sector, as well as better federal interagency cooperation, will be essential to meeting our mutual goals. This invite-only Summit is statutorily defined by the Higher Education Act of 2008 and charges the Department of Education to help coordinate resources at a national level to improve the environmental literacy of our students and citizens. We welcome this responsibility and look forward to the work ahead.

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February 3, 2010

by Jesse Pyles, Sustainability Coordinator, Unity College

Unity College in Unity, Maine is organizing its efforts according to President Mitchell Thomashow’s Nine Elements of a Sustainable Culture – as highlighted in Kyoto Publishing’s Climate Neutral Campus Report.  We’re proud to be a part of a statewide culture in higher education that values sustainability.  In fact, 75% of the college students in Maine are enrolled at ACUPCC signatory institutions (compared to 33% nationally).

At a recent retreat of the Maine Higher Education Council, presidents from around the state focused on sustainability leadership.  Maine’s 33 higher education institutions can operate as a pretty close bunch, engaging in consortia and sharing information and resources in a way that might prove difficult for college networks in other regions.  With the support of Maine’s campus executives, we’re uniquely poised to take a leadership role in the broader sustainability conversation.

Campus sustainability achievements from around Maine are highlighted here under each of President Thomashow’s Nine Elements, which fall under three headings: InfrastructureCommunity, and Learning.

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February 3, 2010

by Richard J. Cook, President Emeritus of Allegheny College and Second Nature Education for Sustainability Fellow

In slightly over two years the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) has grown from a compelling idea into a nationwide phenomenon. Almost 700 institutions of higher learning are now ACUPCC signatories. And many others are eager to learn more about the effort. Interest in the ACUPCC was widespread at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) annual Presidents’ Institute in early January 2010 on Marco Island, Florida.

Presidents representing four ACUPCC signatory colleges participated in a panel discussion entitled “Presidential Leadership in Climate Change and Sustainability.” President Marvalene Hughes described an inspirational commitment made by Dillard University to rebuild its campus on the principle of carbon neutrality in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Rosalind Reichard, president of Emory & Henry College, described the challenges of pursuing climate neutrality on a campus situated amid a coal-based economy and culture. Paul Fonteyn, president of Green Mountain College, told of his small college’s rapid journey to carbon-neutrality, and the way in which such an audacious commitment has helped galvanize the entire campus community behind a unifying ideal. For my part, I discussed my efforts to generate institution-wide engagement with the climate commitment and described the financial and branding benefits of the effort.

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February 3, 2010

by Barbara Koneval, Program Associate for Training & Education, Second Nature 

Among the important resources provided by the ACUPCC are training and educational opportunities to assist signatory schools with meeting the goals of the commitment.  With more than half of the signatory colleges and universities in the process of developing their climate action plans this year, we will continue to focus our training efforts on all topics related to climate action planning in 2010. 

Your feedback from our training survey this past Fall and from the Implementation Liaison networking meetings in 2009 was integral in helping us develop a training program that meets your needs.  Based on your feedback we’ll be focusing the training program on the process of climate action planning, communicating your climate action plan, stakeholder engagement, how to compare mitigation projects, and more.

The ACUPCC will be covering these topics with both in-person workshops and online webinars throughout the year.

Our webinar topics for 2010 will address the following topics:

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February 1, 2010

ACUPCC Steering Committee Co-Chair and Arizona State University President Michael Crow took part in an Executive Roundtable at the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference.

Click here to watch the streaming video on the Greenbuild site.


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December 15, 2009
Posted in: Second Nature Team

By Dan Abrams, Second Nature Intern

Alyssa and I are members of Students for a Just and Stable Future (SFJSF). Our group is putting on the Leadership Campaign, which calls on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his legislature to introduce and pass a bill that will re-power the state of Massachusetts with 100% clean electricity by 2020.

We have been sleeping out nearly every night since October 24th to put pressure on the Governor and to demonstrate how serious we are.  During this time, we've had a few celebrity sleep-out appearances on the Boston Common!

In order of appearance:

1. Dr. James Hansen, acting as private citizen but director of the Goddard Institute at NASA, premiere climate scientist.

James Hansen receives his citation

2. Michelle Dyer, VP of Strategy and Operations at Second Nature.

3. Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow at Second Nature.

4. Ulli Klein, Operations Manager, Executive Assistant, and self-proclaimed Second Nature Intern Dictator.

Second Nature's Michelle Dyer, Georges Dyer, and Ulli Klein visit interns Dan Abrams and Alyssa Pandolfi on the Common

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December 15, 2009
Posted in: Second Nature Team

by Alyssa Pandolfi, Second Nature Intern

Every year, Northeastern University puts on an annual Gingerbread House competition.  Out of the 100 or so students who enter the competition, only thirty get chosen to take part in the opportunity of a lifetime...

...to build the Gingerbread House of their dreams.

After the houses are built, students, faculty, and staff from Northeastern are allowed to vote to determine the crowd favorite.  The winner, besides winning a modest cash sum, will revel in eternal glory.

This year, Jess (a Second Nature co-op alum) and I were one of the lucky few who were chosen to build a Gingerbread House.  In our typical fashion, we decided to give our Gingerbread House a theme:  Sustainability.  Our house, which can be viewed in the image below, has an organic garden, vermicompost bin, wind turbine, fish pond, patio constructed with FSC certified wood, recycling bin, green roof, solar panels, and, oh did I mention the LEED certification button?


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November 11, 2009

by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Last Friday Tony and I had the privilege of heading up to beautiful Freeport, Maine (in a Prius ZipCar, of course!) to meet with a group of college and university presidents who had gathered for a sustainability-themed meeting of the Maine Higher Education Council.

Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the full session, but we did catch a bit of Leith Sharp’s talk on Strategic Leadership for Campus Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, which was terrific. We had a great lunch meeting with Presidents from around the state, discussing how they might work together to tackle the tough problems of climate action planning, incorporating sustainability into the educational experience of students in all disciplines in a meaningful way, and catalyzing a new kind of 21st century sustainable economic development from the higher ed sector.

From left to right: Mitch Thomashow (President, Unity College); Tony Cortese (President, Second Nature); Len Tyler (President, Maine Maritime Academy); Catherine Longley (VP of Finance and Administration, Bowdoin College); Barbara Woodley (President, Kennebec Valley Community College); Joyce Hedlund (President, Eastern Maine Community College); Sharon Kuhrt (President, Central Maine Medical Center); Theo Kalikow (President, University of Maine at Farmington); Donald Zillman (President, University of Maine at Presque Isle); Not pictured: Thom Johnston (President, New England School of Communication); Allyson Hughes Handley (University of Maine at Augusta)

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November 4, 2009

by Dan Abrams, Second Nature Intern

CampusGreenBuilder.org officially went live on Nov 2!

From the CGB (that's Second Nature shorthand for "Campus Green Builder") website:

The Campus Green Builder web portal provides a one-stop online resource on campus green building that is free and accessible to all higher education institutions. Though the information provided is relevant to all higher education institutions, the CGB is particularly geared towards under-resourced colleges and universities. It aims to level the playing field for all institutions of higher education to gain access to funding and technical resources for green building.

Check out the "News and Events" section on the homepage, the Green Building Case Studies, and of course the Advancing Green Building blog. Don't forget to sign up for an account and start contributing to this interactive portal!

For more information on the Campus Green Builder, click here.


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