President Ann Weaver Hart signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment at a ceremony held in Mitten Hall yesterday. In signing, Temple joins 521 other colleges and universities across the country that have expressed concern about climate change.
Representatives from the Sustainability Task Force and members of Students for Environmental Action were all in attendance for the signing yesterday.
Formers members of SEA who are now affiliated with the Sustainability Task Force proposed this step to the university numerous times before Temple agreed to it this year.
William Bergman, vice president of operations at Temple, spoke briefly about the commitment before introducing the Sustainability Task Force. Hart expressed a personal significance in signing the commitment at the ceremony.
Mathew Himmelein, president of Students for Environmental Action, introduced Hart at the ceremony. He also noted that universities and colleges are important in their ability to do research and implement new initiatives directly on their own campus.
“The youth voice is so huge right now,” Himmelein said.
Himmelein addressed a proposed petition where students, faculty and staff pay $25 for alternative energy purchases along with converting the school’s bus fleet from diesel to biodiesel.
The commitment aims to take on global warming by having college institutions pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
The ACUPCC takes the position that colleges are the perfect setting for reaching the goal of climate neutrality because they house those who will be faced with this problem in their future.
As part of the agreement with ACUPCC, Temple must include topics on sustainability into the schools curriculum.
The involvement of students themselves is important to the ACUPCC. They state that educating students about climate sustainability will directly benefit them because of the steps they will take to solve this universal problem.
There are specific parameters and goals Temple must meet in accordance to the commitment. The school will create its own plan to follow and, within two years, will have designated a target date for achieving climate neutrality.
Himmelein said the next steps for Temple are clear.
“Work to save the planet,” he said.
Greg Adomaitis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org