Photo courtesy of RMI
After receiving a slew of applications, the Rocky Mountain Institute (a "Think-and-do Tank") has chosen 12 colleges to send a team of energy researchers to in order to collaborate in a search for breakthroughs in the fight against climate change. A diverse range of schools, from liberal arts universities to community colleges, has been selected for the initiative, which includes the conducting of progressive workshops with the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The project will include mapping out ways for the colleges to go carbon neutral, involvement from the administration—and a slew of other "barrier-busting" initiatives. Which colleges made the cut? You might be surprised . . .Colleges to Combat Climate Change
Yup, there's Yale, Hartford Community College, and Tufts all side by side in the same program to intensively study climate change solutions. Here's the list:
-University of Minnesota at Morris, Morris, Minn.
-Furman University, Greenville, S.C.
-Unity College, Unity, Maine
-Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
-Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.
-University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.
-University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
-Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, Mass.
-Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
-Harford Community College, Bel Air, Md.
-Richland College, Dallas, Texas
-Lakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, Wis.
Climate Change Initiative Specifics
According to Sally DeLeon, an RMI research fellow, the fundamentals of the project will be:
- Collaboration with the schools to identify barriers to their campuses going "carbon neutral," and to map out viable solutions.
- A "barrier-busting" workshop on each campus in the spring to include administrators, facilities and operations professionals, student and faculty leaders, a team of technical experts from RMI, and visiting sustainability professionals from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and other partner organizations.
- Examination of how planners' scenarios for climate action relate to institutional practices, school governance, financial decision-making, and the social landscape on campus.
- Publication of a comprehensive, web-based framework -- to be called Accelerating Campus Climate-Change Initiatives -- that all schools could consult for guidance on climate action planning. It will be based on the research visits, phone interviews with campuses (well beyond the 12 selected for the workshop), detailed applications that the schools submitted to RMI, and the workshop proceedings.
This is an encouraging, carefully considered workshop—we'll be keeping an eye on the progress of these promising institutions to see what sort of sustainable solutions emerge out of the process. For more information, check out RMI's website.
More on Colleges Fighting Climate Change:
Grading Green Schools: The College Sustainability Report Card 2009
Thousands of College Students Converge on Washington DC to Lobby Against Climate Change
University Presidents Promote Higher Education Climate Commitment