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Harper Takes a Bold Step Forward by Removing its Footprint

English: Circle outlined in gray with the word...

English: Circle outlined in gray with the words William Rainey Harper College within it, and a blue geometric shape that is the logo of Harper College with the letters est. 1965. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In July of 2010, Harper’s board and Dr. Ender approved The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which was recommend by the Green Committee. Many of the policies that are to be taken within the two years after starting the program have already commenced.

The policies that Harper has committed to are: new construction will be at least LEED silver, Purchased appliances will be ENERGY STAR certified products, and greenhouse gas emissions from air travel will be offset.

Scott Cashman, the chair of Harper College’s Green Committee, went into details about the planning that has been taken already.

“Right now we are planning the short, medium, and long term goals that will make Harper’s carbon footprint smaller in years to come,” sais Cashman, “one of our goals that we are working on right now is inventorying Harper’s green house gas emission.”

The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment has 646 colleges and universities including Columbia University, The University of California, and Penn State – all of which have committed to the program.

As their website states, “The commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in educating the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming and help create a thriving, civil and sustainable society.”

The Commitment also includes infusing sustainability into courses; which Harper has already began doing. Some of departments that have incorporated sustainability into their programs include; architecture, interior design, and heating. Also within the curriculum Harper offers a new certificate program in Alternative Energy, and Continuing Education Certificate in Sustainable
Living.

As many students have been told, Harper has limited the amount of printing that can be done on student ID cards. – The Green Committee’s actions included students having this limited amount of printing which has had: 376,000 less pages printed which is 75 boxes of paper and 15 toner cartridges saved, which is a total of 143 boxes of paper saved – which adds up to a total of nine trees saved.

To date, The Green Committee has been given three grants including: $63,000 for renewable Energy Education Program, $52,000 for LED lighting, and $5,000 for Green Initiative. All three of these grants have given Harper the opportunity to become greener.

President Ender, who signed in the policy in 2010, has commented on Harper’s progress and the Green Committee’s initiative.

“Thus far, the contributions is laying the info structure for us to become greener,” said Dr. Ender, “I think the most significant accomplishment by the committee was moving the resolution through government to having this brought to the board. Joining that network of colleges provides us a uniformed architecture with how we can approach this. We can then compare ourselves to other colleges who use the same protocol.”

The main three benefits of joining in the effort includes: improving competitive position, opening-up new funding opportunities, and that the plan is flexible and well designed, enabling presidents to make a bold institutional commitment with confidence.

President Ender also commented that this is an opportunity to become a leader. In the best of worlds, college Presidents should be engaged in civic leadership. By being apart of The American College College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Harper is exercising its leadership role in preserving and making a dent in its carbon footprint.

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