Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.
Dickinson College has set a date of 2020 for becoming climate neutral. The College has already made important strides in recent years to reduce and offset its greenhouse gas emissions and these efforts are being intensified. Implementation of the action plan will reduce emissions 25 percent from 2008 levels by the year 2020. The balance of emissions will be offset through projects with community partners, composting and recycling, purchases of renewable energy certificates, and other measures. The commitment, however, does not end there. Dickinson will continue to reduce its emissions to 50 percent below the 2008 level by 2025 and to 75 percent below 2008 level by 2030. Emissions reductions will result from projects focusing on conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy. Helping the campus community to adopt more sustainable behaviors will be at the core of the conservation projects. Outreach programs will decrease students energy consumption in the residence halls. Other projects will concentrate on faculty and staff behaviors in their offices and encouraging the most sustainable commute possible, through carpooling, walking, and biking. Efficiency projects will focus on efficient technology, such as LEDs, and efficient construction and renovation. Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, will be utilized as much as possible over the next 20 years to further emissions reductions. In addition, two combined heat and power plants will provide electricity and heat to large portions of the campus and will be run on waste vegetable oil. The deepening reductions after 2020 will lessen the Colleges reliance on offsets for attainment of climate neutrality. Through this incremental approach to carbon neutrality, Dickinson will be able to take immediate actions to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce emissions while also planning for an even greater sustainable future.
Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
Dickinson College launched a new initiative in 2008 to make study of sustainability a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education. The initiative, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and matching funds from the College, is coordinated by the new Dickinson Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education (CESE). Students engage in learning about environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability in more than 140 courses that span the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as our highly regarded study abroad programs. Dickinsons Valley and Ridge Project, a faculty study group on sustainability and place-based learning, is creating new courses and revising existing courses to broaden and deepen sustainability learning in the curriculum for all Dickinson students. Opportunities for experience-based learning are being expanded by the Dickinson Living Laboratory for Sustainability, which is connecting the Climate Action Plan, Dickinson College Farm, a college-community partnership to monitor and protect watersheds, the Center for Sustainable Living, renewable energy projects, and other sustainability efforts to coursework.
Examples of new and revised courses from the Valley and Ridge Project include:
Going Green at Dickinson: students in this business management course form a consulting firm and Dickinson is the client. The student team is providing advice about implementation of the climate action plan and other sustainability efforts.
Crystallized Pedagogy, Buildings that Teach: students in this senior seminar evaluated and contributed to plans to renovate a former electronics crystal factory to make it a LEED Gold academic building.
From Kyoto to Copenhagen: students in this interdisciplinary course have formed a research team that is investigating the positions of parties to the international climate change negotiations and will attend the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 to interview participants.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Dickinson College faculty members, often in collaboration with their students, are active contributors to environmental and sustainability research and scholarship. A new Environmental Education Fund (EEF) is facilitating and providing incentives for expanded student-faculty research that will advance understanding of sustainability problems and solutions. Recent EEF grants have supported research on wildlife habitat and interactions with humans at the College Farm, development and demonstration of a solar powered vehicle, participatory mapping to investigate perspectives and conflicts regarding development of natural gas along the Macellus Shale formation of Pennsylvania, and the development of ecocritical theory in American nature writing.
Additional examples of environment and sustainability research at Dickinson include:
Responses of marine organisms to ocean acidification. Tom Arnold, Professor of Biology, is beginning a new research effort that will engage students in investigation of the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems using a free-ocean-carbon-enrichment system that he constructed.
Climate Change in the Developing World. Neil Leary, CESE Director, conducts research on climate change vulnerability and adaptation in Africa, Asia, and South America. He was a leader of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a member of the IPCC Editorial Review Board for the 2007 report, and is helping to plan the IPCCs next report.
Water quality, watersheds, and aquatic ecosystems. Candie Wilderman, Professor of Environmental Studies, Julie Vastine and Jinnie Woodward, directors of Dickinsons Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM), and student workers at ALLARM conduct extensive research on freshwater systems and water quality in partnership with community watershed associations.
Deer browsing, species diversity, and forest dynamics. Biology professors Carol Loefler and Brian Pedersen have conducted research with students over many years on the impacts of an uncontrolled deer population on the deciduous forest system of nearby Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Engagement with community is an important dimension of the mission of Dickinson College, which is to prepare young people through a useful education in the liberal arts for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in service to society. This is reflected in our service-learning course offerings, residential learning communities, internship and volunteer opportunities, and active participation of the College in the life of the community beyond the campus borders. These efforts are facilitated by the Community Studies Center, the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education (CESE), the Office of Religious Life and Community Service, and the Office of College and Community Development. CESE is working with these offices to expand engagements with community that advance environmental, social, and economic goals that underlie sustainable living and sustainable development. We are exploring opportunities to work with groups in the community to increase awareness of climate change and promote actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Examples of sustainability related engagement with community at Dickinson include:
Watershed protection: ALLARM has worked with community watershed organizations and over 2500 volunteers in its 20-year history to monitor and protect water quality.
Carlisle Road Diet: Dickinson helped the Borough of Carlisle to develop a plan that has been funded by PennDOT to calm traffic and make Carlisle a more pedestrian and bike friendly community.
Sustainable Food: The Dickinson College Farm grows sustainable food for the College and community, helped launch a farmers market, donates produce to a community food bank, hosts school and other groups for educational programs, and promotes local and sustainable food awareness and consumption.
Renewable Energy: Dickinson hosted the first Sustainable Energy Fund Solar Scholars Conference, in August 2008 and the first Intercollegiate Biodiesel Conference in April 2009, each attended by community members and more than two-dozen other colleges.