UConn’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday expressed unequivocal support for sustainability and clean energy initiatives, adopting a statement underscoring its commitment to current and future University efforts to mitigate climate change locally and beyond.
Trustees have expressed their support individually and collectively in meetings and other venues for the initiatives and the sustainability goals underpinning them. With the newly adopted statement, the board decisively and formally confirms those sentiments for UConn’s current and future students, along with employees, alumni, state leaders, and others who share its commitment to sustainability.
The board’s declaration also adds to the many ways in which UConn is working toward its goal of climate neutrality on campus by 2030 through achieving energy efficiencies in facilities operations, supporting research into clean energy technologies, and offering strong academic programs in related topics across disciplines.
Trustees also thanked UConn students on Wednesday for their activism on the topic, including several who attended the board meeting to speak on the topic and applauded its unanimous vote to adopt the statement.
Board Chairman Daniel Toscano said Wednesday that while the action of adopting the statement does not accomplish specific objectives on its own, it serves the broader purpose of underscoring that climate neutrality, sustainability, and clean energy are a significant board priority.
“We’ve put a marker down that this is the path we’re on, and we need to do everything that is needed to support (UConn) leadership in resourcing these initiatives,” he said.
UConn’s Carbon Reduction Working Group is working on an action plan with energy-saving and clean-energy initiatives to help the University work toward carbon neutrality by 2030, with the goal of being entirely carbon zero by 2040.
“It is invaluable that we make this statement and make this commitment going forward,” Joshua Crow, the board’s graduate student trustee, said Wednesday. “There is an understanding that we as a University, we as a board, we as a community, have a monumental task — but if we work together, we’ll be able to accomplish it.”
The Board of Trustees’ adopted statement reads as follows:
“The University community has rightly determined that the growing climate crisis is one of the gravest threats to humanity that this and future generations must face and collectively address to help avert global catastrophe.
We are already seeing the dire consequences of a warming planet. UConn and every research university has a critical role to play in helping to combat this crisis and build a far more sustainable future.
The Board of Trustees strongly supports the University’s strategic focus on this challenge; the alignment of resources to advance research and scholarship in fields related to climate, sustainability, and clean energy; the activism shown by members of our community to help devote maximum attention to this issue; and UConn’s ongoing efforts to ensure our own campuses are remade over time into models of sustainability.
The University’s dual focus is both inward facing and outward looking; internally the Carbon Reduction Working Group, previous related efforts, and administrative units within the institution are working together to ensure UConn achieves carbon neutrality on its campuses by 2030, with the ultimate goal of being zero carbon by 2040.
Simultaneously, the university is aggressively supporting and investing in faculty and research that falls into the category of climate and sustainability across schools, colleges, departments, centers, and institutes.
The board is proud of the University’s foresight, strategic thinking, and determination to be agents of change and progress in this all-important effort and will do all it can to help UConn meet this challenge.”