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Carleton College Named Finalist for Climate Leadership Award

February 8, 2013

American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)

Northfield, Minn.–– For the second consecutive year, Carleton College is a finalist in the Second Nature 2013 Climate Leadership Awards, an annual competition among U.S. colleges and universities that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Carleton, as part of its ACUPCC agreement and its own Climate Action Plan, has an institutional goal of net zero carbon by 2050. The College has incorporated sustainability as a baseline assumption in its Strategic Plan, released this past fall after an 18-month planning process.

On the operations side, the College has benefitted from its second wind turbine, commissioned in October 2011, providing 25-30 percent of the campus’ electrical needs. The College installed Rice County’s first electric vehicle (EV) charging station, and has numerous, ongoing energy conservation projects that include lighting retrofits, energy audits and building recommissioning. Carleton also launched an improved community waste program with centrally located and easily recognizable bins for recycling, composting or landfill. They also formed a custodial “Wastebusters” team to help identify areas where the College can be more sustainable in its use of cleaning practices and community waste decrease.

The College has taken its sustainability efforts inside the classroom as well, as Carleton faculty members have embraced the integration of the movement into the curriculum. In addition to Carleton’s environmental studies major, there are more than 30 courses related to energy, food systems and sustainability. There are multiple student organizations focused on these issues, and an annual “Green Wars” competition that encourages energy savings in residence halls. The College also has a “Sustainability Assistants” (STA) work-study-program for students dedicated to advancing sustainability at Carleton. STAs work with facilities, grounds, residential life, food service, the environmental advisory committee, and any group that would like to further incorporate sustainability into their work. Areas of STA work include: land management, administration, waste management, policies and guidelines, publicity/outreach, data and reporting, energy conservation, and research.

The awards program is sponsored by Second Nature, a national nonprofit that seeks to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education, and PlanetForward, a media company that publishes news, opinion, and insight about energy, climate, and sustainability.

“Carleton is proud to be a Second Nature Climate Leadership Award finalist for the second year in a row. As a signatory of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, we're dedicated to making meaningful progress on our campus Climate Action Plan and our goal to be a carbon neutral campus by the year 2050,” said Martha Larson, Carleton’s manager of campus energy and sustainability. “Carleton's sustainability-related course offerings, two commercial-sized wind turbines, LEED building projects and various student sustainability initiatives demonstrate support for this goal at all levels of the organization.”

“If the destabilizing economic, political, and environmental events and natural disasters of the last 2-3 years have told us anything, it is that business as usual will not work,” said David Hales, President of Second Nature. “We need new and better ways of meeting human needs, and this year’s finalists are leading the way in creating — and teaching — sustainable solutions to the major economic and social issues of our time.”

This year, the award program’s fourth, drew the largest and most competitive pool of nominations to date.  Second Nature will partner with PlanetForward, a web-to-television initiative that documents and shares energy, climate, and sustainability advances, on a public voting competition featuring the Finalists’ climate leadership and campus innovations during Earth Month (April 2013).

“The caliber of this year’s nominations is unparalleled,” said ACUPCC Director Ashka Naik. “The depth and breadth of climate leadership and sustainability education programs demonstrated by these finalists is a reflection of their deep commitment to truly innovative solutions for a sustainable future.”

Awards Timeline

The awards will feature a public, online voting component. Each of the 20 finalists will produce a video that promotes its specific sustainability efforts. Voting will be open during Earth Month, April 2013. Last year’s voting competition drew over 70,000 video views and 14,000 votes.

In late spring, award winners will be chosen, independent of the video voting competition, by members of the Second Nature Board not affiliated with ACUPCC signatory schools.

More information on the awards is at

Full List of Finalists

The following colleges and universities, listed according to their respective Carnegie Classifications, are the 2013 finalists:

Associate/Tribal College
Bellevue College (WA)
Glendale Community College (AZ)
Saint Louis Community College (MS)
University of Hawaii Kauai Community College (HI)

Baccalaureate College
Carleton College (MN)

Hobart & William Smith (NY)
Middlebury College (VT)
Oberlin College (OH)

Allegheny College, PA
Carleton College, MN
Luther College, IA
Spelman College, GA

Master’s Colleges & University
American Public University System (WV)
Chatham University (PA)
Goddard College (VT)
Western State Colorado University (CO)

Doctorate Granting University
Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)
Indiana State University (IN)
Missouri University of Science & Technology (MS)
Portland State University (OR)
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (NY)

Special Focus Institutions / Other
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MA)
Pratt Institute of Art & Design (NY)
University of Massachusetts Medical School (MA)

About Second Nature

Second Nature works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society beginning with the transformation of higher education. Second Nature is the support organization of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Learn more at:

About the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

The ACUPCC is an intensive partnership among more than 650 colleges and universities to accelerate the education, research, and community engagement to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate while setting an example by eliminating net greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations.

Learn more at:

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