Adams State's Mary Hoffman attends Climate Leadership Summit


Mary Hoffman, Executive Director of Adams State University Community Partnerships, recently attended the 2014 Presidential Summit on Climate Leadership in Boston. She is a member of the university's Sustainability Team, which works to achieve carbon neutrality.

The Summit convened more than 250 college and university leaders from across the U.S. to focus on ways to strengthen campus climate action and sustainability initiatives, as well as higher education's leadership role in developing strategic responses to climate and sustainability challenges in community, regional, and national contexts. Like Adams State University, most Summit participants are signatories of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Convened by Second Nature, Inc., the supporting organization for the ACUPCC, the Summit reflects the centrality of higher education's role in preparing new generations to meet the challenges of climate change. The program focuses on ways to build on the success of climate action plans and sustainability initiatives on ACUPCC campuses and develop solutions to the most pressing environmental problems facing our communities.

More than 680 colleges and universities in the U.S. are current ACUPCC signatories, representing all 50 states, D. C., and every category of public and private higher education institution. These signatories are committed to achieving carbon neutrality and represent more than 6.5 million students - one third of all college students in the nation.

Campus sustainability efforts

In 2008, Adams State President David Svaldi signed the commitment for Adams State to demonstrate his leadership around conserving local resources, reducing institutional costs, and preserving the natural environment of the San Luis Valley. Adams State's E.A.R.T.H. (Environmental Action for Resources, Transportation, Health) group, Facility Services and Community Partnerships have worked together for years to engage students and community around environmentally beneficial projects.

Example of these projects include: reusable bag initiative, collaboration with Aveda Corporation with recycling plastic caps, "leave no trace" hikes, Earth Day Garage Sales, Green Home Design coursework, Recycle Fashion Show and Exhibit, Rio Grande trail litter clean-up, solar panel Plachy Hall project, campus glass recycling, forums around environmental issues, campus carbon footprint measurement, and the most recent pilot recycling project involving Porter Hall and Nielson Library.

ASU's ACUPCC committee is coordinating efforts and creating momentum for more progress. The committee includes: Dr. Jared Beeton, Earth Science; Professor Chris Adams, Chemistry; Betsy Chacon, Business Affairs; Scott Travis and Rodney Martinez, Facility Services; Chuck Bateman, Sodexho; Dr. Marty Jones, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry; Karl Jolliff and Mary Hoffman, Community Partnerships

The Summit was designed by a group of 30 college and university presidents with the support of a committee of seven local institutions, and is organized into five tracks: Knowledge and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education's Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Campus Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Risks, and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership -- along with a session on the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature's newest initiative focused on climate resilience. Summit highlights included keynote addresses by Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston; and Kate Gordon, Executive Director of The Risky Business Project. Kathy Jacobs, Director of the Center for Climate Change Adaptation Science and Solutions and former Director of the U. S. National Climate Assessment, spoke about and facilitating discussions about climate resilience throughout the event.

CO2 impact from attendee travel, meeting space, and guest accommodations is being offset through purchase by The Revere Hotel of carbon offsets from Native Energy, Inc. Summit sponsors include Xerox, Cenergistic, Altenex, and ecoAmerica.