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climate neutral campus

Colby-Sawyer College President Commits to 'Climate Neutral' Campus

College Joins Growing List of Higher Education Leaders To Fight Global Warming

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. has committed to reducing and eventually eliminating the college's global warming emissions, and accelerating educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate.

The pledge came with President Galligan's signing of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, joining the leaders of 330 other institutions across the country and making Colby-Sawyer a charter signatory institution.

“Climate change and global warming are among the defining issues of our time,” says President Galligan. “We believe human activities have significantly contributed to the problem and we are committed to working together to solve it. Creating a culture of concern for the environment, including a commitment to sustainability, is critical to our success. Colby-Sawyer College is proud to be among those leading the way.”

The college will work to create a comprehensive institutional action plan to move toward climate neutrality, which could take a number of years. In the short term, Colby-Sawyer will build on its commitment to campus sustainability, a growing movement in academia toward living within the limits of the earth's resources.

The college switched from fuel oil to propane 10 years ago and has replaced most windows and doors on campus with more energy-efficient models in recent years. The college is also exploring other environmental feasibility initiatives. Many of these initiatives were recommended by the college's Community and Environmental Studies majors, who in 2006-2007 conducted a Campus Sustainability Assessment. The group's recommendations, divided into three levels of priority, met with wide support from the administration, faculty, staff and student body.

The Presidents Climate Commitment, a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, was launched in June 2007 and is the first effort by any major sector of society to set climate neutrality as its target.

This undertaking by America's colleges and universities is inspired by efforts like the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and other collective efforts by states and businesses.

“Colleges and universities must lead the effort to reverse global warming for the health and well-being of current and future generations,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University and a founding member of the ACUPCC Leadership Circle. “On behalf of all the signatories, I welcome President Galligan to the commitment. We are honored and pleased to have him join us.”

There is no financial obligation associated with signing the ACUPCC, as the plan is flexible enough to enable colleges and universities to move toward climate neutrality in a manner that can have attractive returns on the investment, which can then be re-invested in further actions toward neutrality, ensuring that the process is financially beneficial in both the short and long term.

“Being one of the charter signatory institutions of the ACUPCC really puts Colby-Sawyer out there on this issue,” says Professor John Callewaert, director of Colby-Sawyer's Institute for Community and Environment. “And our new membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education will provide important resources as we move forward with sustainability. While Colby-Sawyer is just getting into the movement toward sustainability, I think we will be able to move fast given our size and culture of cooperation and communication.”

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate. Under the guidance and direction of the Leadership Circle of presidents, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is supported by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Second Nature, and ecoAmerica, which the college has joined.

Learn more at: presidentsclimatecommitment.org.


Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Our students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000