Bryn Mawr Climate Action Plan Calls for Reduction in College’s Carbon Footprint

Posted March 22nd, 2010 at 5:10 pm.

graphic: American College and University Presidents Climate CommitmentEarlier this year, Bryn Mawr College submitted its Climate Action Plan as part of The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The plan calls for a 10-percent decrease in overall college emissions over the next 10 years; an expansion of course offerings in environmental studies; increased efforts to educate the community on sustainability issues; and more research by faculty and students on topics related to environmental sustainability.

“When we created the plan, we didn’t just want it to go up on a shelf,” says Environmental Health and Safety Officer Don Abramowitz. “We purposefully created something that could be a workable road map as we move forward with our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The Climate Action Plan was generated by the Bryn Mawr College Sustainability Committee as part of a broader plan to support and increase environmental awareness and sustainability efforts.

Co-chaired by Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Berenson and Assistant Provost Beth Shepard-Rabadam, the committee was made up of faculty, staff, and students.

“This can’t be a top-down effort. Everyone’s going to have to do their part if we’re going to be successful in substantially reducing emissions,” says Berenson. “So making sure we had the entire community, including students, represented was a particularly important part of this process.”

“I was very pleased to work on the Climate Action Plan,” says Melaine Bowman ’10. “I felt like I had a very large part in creating the plan, and the policies I really pushed for are in there.”

Bowman was joined on the committee by fellow BMC Greens member Yong Jung Cho ’12.

“The finalization of an action plan is a great accomplishment for the college, and it should be celebrated,” adds Cho. “But the plan is only the first step towards lasting change. It’s now time to enact the promises we have made. In fact, the entire Bryn Mawr community must keep each other accountable.”

Key elements of the plan, such as a sustainability Web site and the creation of a sustainability-coordinator position, are already being discussed, says Berenson.

The College has already implemented many initiatives during the past decade to reduce energy consumption on campus, including the installation of a computerized energy/temperature-management system that includes temperature sensors in over 500 indoor locations throughout campus.

Each year Bryn Mawr College also submits a report to GreenReportCard.org. This year the College received a “B”, up from a “C+” in 2009.

“Having an historic campus and being in a suburban setting provides some challenges in terms of what we can do to curb our carbon usage” says Berenson. “But we’ve already been able to make significant progress, and there continues to be a tremendous amount of support and enthusiasm for making Bryn Mawr’s future a greener one.”

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