Monday, June 20, 2016

The last six weeks of spring semester were bookended by Earth Month and graduation. Both events are reminders of our commitment to sustainability — in the way we operate our campus, educate our students and prepare them to be responsible and engaged citizens. During the short time our students are with us, it is a top priority for the faculty and staff to educate them about the three Es that must co-exist in a sustainable world: environmental protection and resource conservation, economic prosperity and continuity and social well-being and equity. This academic year we initiated an on-going research project that will track the Sustainability IQ of our students over their four years at Appalachian. Since 2009 we have encouraged graduating students to sign a national sustainability pledge. In 2015, Chancellor Everts signed the newly revamped Second Nature Climate Commitment as well as the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge. More than 100 faculty members have already pledged to doing what they can to help students understand the ecological and social consequences of climate change and to evaluate appropriate responses. Nearly 20% of Appalachian students, faculty and staff offset their commute to campus by purchasing carbon offsets at the time of registering their vehicle with the office of Parking & Traffic. And, also in 2015, we retained our gold status on sustainability achievements by STARS, given to us from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. We are ranked second in the nation for this achievement.

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