Western Recognized For Sustainability Leadership

Western vies for popular vote in Earth Month video competition

GUNNISON, CO — Western State Colorado University will be recognized in two venues this month as one of 20 colleges and universities nationwide that exemplify the mission of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to re-stabilize the earth’s climate through education, research, and community engagement.

The “Celebrating Sustainability” series highlights the sustainability initiatives of finalists for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards. Second Nature, a national non-profit that works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society by transforming higher education, will formally recognize Western on the ACUPCC and Second Nature websites on April 16. 

In tandem with the series,Western is vying for the top spot in a public video voting competition. Western has produced a video that promotes the campus’s sustainability initiatives, and viewers can vote for the most innovative and groundbreaking institution in each Carnegie Classification. Voting takes place throughout April in partnership with Planet Forward at the following address: 


Voting begins April 1st!

Western State Colorado University’s students have initiated a number of measures to promote sustainability on campus, including a Renewable Energy Fund. The fund is a student fee of $15 dollars each semester for reducing CO2 emissions at Western. Students have also led efforts to institute a bicycle library on campus, composting and an organic garden.

At Western, a university high in the Rocky Mountains, the obligation to the climate crisis is elevated for regionally unique reasons. Climate change could hinder the region’s distinctive mountain economy. Some research predicts that if carbon emissions are not reduced dramatically, Gunnison County could lose 43 percent of its snow pack this century. Gunnison offers unique opportunities for potential climate solutions with renewable energy resources of sun, biomass and wind.

“We’re proud of the efforts our students have undertaken to promote sustainability on campus,” says Western State Colorado University President Dr. Jay Helman. “Their efforts highlight the heart and soul of our students and Western’s unique role in this pristine mountain location.”

“Western State Colorado University’s students actively welcomed the responsibility of aiding their environment by supporting the addition of an optional renewable energy fee. This is but one example of how colleges and universities can create ways to finance the introduction of sustainable practices,” said David Hales, president of Second Nature. “Western's motivated student body and receptive administration have worked together to make sustainability a campus-wide priority, and we applaud them for that.”

About Western State Colorado University

In Gunnison, Colorado, Western is a public university unlike any other – with the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence, and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources, and our surrounding community.  With an enrollment of 2,300 students, Western offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate academic programs and unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education, and chart your course for a meaningful life. To learn more, visit Western.edu. 

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 & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Learn more about Second Nature at: www.secondnature.org

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: www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 9:30am