President Joins Steering Committee of the Higher Education Climate Network

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) announced recently that President Mark Huddleston joined its steering committee. In this role, Huddleston will help guide policy and direction of this national network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions and promote the research and educational efforts needed to help society address climate change.

Huddleston is among 18 college and university presidents named today to the steering committee, which includes presidents from seven New England schools. The steering committee is the chief governing body of the ACUPCC and is responsible for guidance, policy, and direction of the ACUPCC. Its members reflect the diversity of higher education in the United States.  

“I am honored to be part of the next phase of ACUPCC work’s to help society address climate change in positive and proactive ways,” Huddleston says. “Sustainability is integral to everything we do at UNH, from being home to the oldest endowed program in the United States to our innovative landfill gas-to-energy project, and it is crucial that climate change remain a focus of our work as a nation.”  

Launched in early 2007, the ACUPCC is a network of 659 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia representing nearly six million students, about one-third of the U.S. higher education student population. The program is led by a steering committee comprised of 34 university and college presidents and is staffed and supported by Second Nature, a Boston-based national nonprofit organization. Learn more at www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.  

“The level of engagement and diversity of the ACUPCC Steering Committee members continues to increase,” says David Hales, president of Second Nature and coordinator of the ACUPCC. “There was tremendous interest in serving on the committee this year among the ACUPCC presidents – it’s just one more indicator of how this initiative and the sustainability movement are generating excitement on campuses and throughout the higher education sector in unprecedented ways.”  

A member of the circle of early signers of the ACUPCC, UNH is a leader in climate and energy solutions. Under its climate action plan, WildCAP, UNH is committed to lowering its emissions 50 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 en route to climate neutrality. Up to 80 percent of campus energy needs are met by EcoLine, an innovative landfill gas-to-energy project, and renewable energy credits sold off the electricity EcoLine generates are further invested in energy efficiency projects on campus.

A member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, UNH also has a revolving energy fund that has resulted in more than $500,000 in energy savings “returns” through investment in energy efficiency projects on campus. The UNH Energy Task Force (ETF) estimates that after a decade, the revolving energy fund will help the university realize $3 million in energy savings and prevent more than 8,500 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases from being emitted -- the equivalent of more than 1,600 passenger vehicles or 19,000 barrels of oil. Finally, as part of the Sustainability Institute at UNH, Carbon Solutions New England is collaborative with partners across the state and region to achieve a clean, secure energy future through research, analyses and collaborative action.  

“The transition to a low-carbon economy is going to take unprecedented leadership and collaboration and UNH is deeply committed to playing its part in this vital undertaking,” adds Tom Kelly, chief sustainability officer and founding director of the UNH Sustainability Institute. 

Sustainability is a core value of UNH, shaping culture, informing behavior, and guiding work. As a nationally recognized leader, the UNH Sustainability Institute acts as convener, cultivator and champion of sustainability on campus, in the state and region, and around the world. Learn more at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.