by Thomas Williams, Sustainability Coordinator, Scottsdale Community College

(This article appears in the May, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

On February 17, 2010 Chancellor Rufus Glasper of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  His signature enables Maricopa’s ten colleges and the district office to actively pursue practices that target the Triple Bottom Line: environmental responsibility, social justice and economic feasibility. “My action reflects a strong pledge by Maricopa employees to the goal and responsibilities of the Climate Commitment and sustainability,” he said.

Five of the ten Maricopa County Community Colleges had individually signed on to the ACUPCC by the end of 2007. All of these five have completed their Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and three of them have already submitted their Climate Action Plan.

Chancellor Glasper signs the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment with the district and individual college leadership

Maricopa’s commitment to district-wide sustainability began on December 9, 2008 when the Maricopa Community College Governing Board adopted a resolution regarding district sustainability efforts. The resolution was intended to “help guide employees and students in framing decisions and district-wide discussions with due consideration for the economic, social, and environmental effects of MCCCD’s actions.”  The Board’s adoption of the resolution will provide greater support for the individual colleges to move forward with sustainable practices.

When the Chancellor was asked to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment, several members of his Executive Council asked about the fiscal and operational obligations that would impact the colleges and the district office.  From this discussion, the Chancellor organized a President’s Climate Commitment Task Force to determine the impact of becoming a signatory.  The Chancellor asked the Task Force to review the Council’s questions and related issues, and return with a report and recommendations. The report would show the overall impact of joining the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The Task Force, comprised of college presidents, faculty and staff, gathered information on sustainability best practices from each college in the Maricopa district (comprised of over 260,000 students annually), as well as from other colleges and universities around the country.  With this new information in hand, the Task Force developed a framework for a district-wide sustainability council and determined the implications of signing on to the Climate Commitment.

Chancellor Glasper accepted the recommendations of the Task Force and signed the commitment on February 17, 2010.  He then charged the Task Force with developing the action steps and timeline to implement the first set of recommendations by the July 15, 2010 deadline.