ACUPCC at the COP 16 in Cancun!

November 4, 2010

By Felicia Davis, Director, Facilities & Infrastructure Enhancement, Institute for Capacity Building, UNCF and Ashka Naik, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Second Nature, in collaboration with UNCF, will host a special side event during the upcoming COP 16 UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico on Friday, December 3 at the Meridian Hotel featuring US colleges and universities committed to reducing their carbon footprints.  The session will share best practices from US Black, Hispanic-Serving and Tribal colleges and universities that have signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).  Senior officials from three signatory institutions -- each at a different stage in the ACUPCC process -- will describe how the ACUPCC provides a framework for advancing campus sustainability.During this session, Vita Pickrum from Delaware State University will discuss the institutional processes involved in moving a Historically Black Institution toward embracing climate action.  John Strybos from Alamo Community College District, representing Hispanic-Serving Institutions, will elucidate the process of institutionalizing and standardizing the implementation of the ACUPCC district-wide.  And, Dr. Daniel Wildcat from Haskell Indian Nations University will underscore Tribal institutions’ progress in the context of the traditional environmental wisdom vis-à-vis the current need for climate action.

While comprehensive energy policy remains on the horizon in the US, higher education is making significant strides toward climate neutrality, becoming the only sector in the country that has made a deep commitment to holistic sustainability.  UNCF and Second Nature are looking forward to this opportunity to report back on the successes of this remarkable initiative to the international community.

During the session, Second Nature will share the dynamic processes involved in and the collaborative nature of the ACUPCC that have proven tremendously successful in moving higher education toward a healthy, just and sustainable society.  Ashka Naik, Director of Strategic Initiatives with Second Nature, will be on hand to share a national overview of the ACUPCC as a galvanizing strategy to address collective climate action.  Since UNCF is focused specifically on institutions that serve large numbers of ethnic and racial minority students, Felicia Davis, UNCF Building Green Director, will share how the ACUPCC has worked for campuses with diverse missions and cultures.  Often under-resourced, these institutions are making significant strides and embracing the ACUPCC as a mechanism for driving energy efficiency and green campus programs.  There are also a few international signatories in the ACUPCC network, and Second Nature and UNCF are eager to share the ACUPCC and US institutional experiences as case studies to the larger international audience.

UNCF and Second Nature strongly agree that many strategies possess the promise for applicability abroad with minor adjustments.  The ACUPCC model may prove useful for others, including educational institutions in developing countries.  The model also has an excellent potential to provide a constructive framework to other sectors of the society that are exploring institutional solutions to pursue carbon neutrality.  And for this knowledge exchange to take place with the international community, the COP 16 offers a prolific platform.

This joint participation in the COP 16 will be the first of the many opportunities these organizations are hoping to leverage to share the important lessons learned during the exciting journey to green one of the most critical establishments of today’s society!

The recording of the session will be posted on

[If you have any questions regarding this session, then please contact Felicia Davis, UNCF. If you are planning on attending the COP 16, then please inform us by contacting Ashka Naik, Second Nature.]

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