Wheaton College has joined more than 300 other colleges and universities in the United States that have pledged to reduce reliance on high-carbon energy sources and promote sustainability practices on campus.
Wheaton and other institutions of higher education signed on to the American Campuses Act on Climate (ACAC) pledge before the conclusion of the international Conference on Climate Change in Paris, which ended on Saturday, Dec. 12 with an historic agreement among the 195 countries participating in the gathering.
“Wheaton has taken a number of steps to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years, and by signing on to this pledge, we are making a commitment to continue this important work,” said President Dennis Hanno.
“The college’s mission is focused on the future. It’s about making a positive difference in the world by preparing talented students to be creative and accomplished leaders in their personal and professional lives,” Hanno said. “Reducing our carbon footprint is also about creating a better tomorrow. It’s critical for the entire planet, and we are proud to be contributing to it.”
In signing on to the ACA, Wheaton pledged to take specific steps to reduce its reliance on energy derived from high-carbon sources and to promote conservation on its campus. In addition to its many ongoing initiatives, the college promised to:
- Pursue the installation of solar arrays on campus facilities.
- Decrease energy consumption by retrofitting facilities with high-efficiency fixtures and equipment.
- Increase awareness of energy use through more accurate measurement and distribution of energy consumption data, campus programming, and increased promotion.
“For many years, Wheaton has embraced sustainability, including within the curriculum, across many aspects of student life, and in our campus operations,” said Brian Douglas, vice president of finance and administration. “It is with renewed purpose and a shared sense of urgency that we commit ourselves to these steps to reduce our impact on our climate. In the months ahead, we hope and expect more initiatives will emerge to further our progress.”
Wheaton’s largest and most recent construction project, the Mars Center for Science and Technology, incorporates a number of conservation features, including a “green roof” designed to reduce heating and cooling costs and a state-of-the-art air handling and cooling system.
Student-led organizations on the campus have been champions for sustainability. Student initiatives past initiatives like the apple orchard on campus, students living in ECCO House started a composting initiative, along with WheaFarm, a student-run community garden.