By Judith Groleau, Vice President of Development, Second Nature

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

A highly visible undertaking such as the ACUPCC must demonstrate the commitment of its members through their participation in fundraising efforts, as this is an important tool for encouraging donors to invest in new programs and special projects that help to achieve the goals of the ACUPCC.  Just as each college and university works hard to achieve that level of participation from its alumni and board for a giving program, we too seek to have that level of participation from ACUPCC signatories through our membership dues program.

Bowen Close

Institutions that step up to pay Leadership Level dues make a vote of confidence in the initiative that not only supports program management efforts but also brings a host of other benefits.  In October, during the 2010 Climate Leadership Summit, I learned that Pomona College made a Leadership Level dues contribution to the ACUPCC to acknowledge the high profile work done by their Implementation Liaison, Bowen Close, on behalf of the ACUPCC.   This is an extraordinary way for an institution to acknowledge the accomplishments of one of its own on campus.

Pomona’s President, Dr. David Oxtoby, explained the reason behind their contribution: “Bowen’s role with the ACUPCC played a big role in our decision to contribute at the Leadership level. We are very proud of the work she is doing on campus and of her nationally visible role with your organization [Second Nature and the ACUPCC] and with others.  Bowen has professionalized and transformed our own sustainability efforts on campus.  I am glad that you have found her helpful for your efforts as well.  She is able to work equally effectively with students, faculty, and Trustees.  She bridges the academic and operational sides of the campus particularly well.”

I sat next to Bowen during lunch at the Summit, and I thanked her for the contribution and for the work that Pomona is doing as part of the ACUPCC.  It was clear to me by Bowen’s reaction that she did not know that Pomona would contribute at that level.  She mentioned to me that she had been updating her President about all the work she had been doing and, when I contacted President Oxtoby, I learned that he decided to contribute at the leadership level because he felt that his Implementation Liaison was contributing in some important ways on campus and nationwide.  His recognition of Bowen’s work on campus sends a strong message about how important it is to develop talent and to publicly recognize the hard work that is going on in the trenches.  As a society, we all benefit from Bowen’s leadership.

Bowen has joined the recently formed Implementation Liaison Support Committee. It was constituted to provide peer-to-peer support to individuals who are responsible for implementing the ACUPCC at signatory institutions.  What we are learning every day is that many of you are paving the way – you are the “firsts” in this new role.  Through this experience, leaders are emerging, new skills are being acquired, and your work will in some way drive the creation of new solutions that help to create a carbon free society.  What we have discovered through this committee is that it brings to us all another benefit which is that the ILs serving on the Implementation Liaison Support Committee are able to demonstrate in highly visible ways their own leadership skills.

When asked what it feels like to be honored for her work by President Oxtoby, Bowen said, “It’s particularly exciting to see such support on behalf of our President because it confirms, yet again, that the College is truly committed to the cause of sustainability – that it’s not just about our campus and our institution, but about taking a leadership role in improving the state of the environment. [At Pomona] we found that it was particularly important for us to engage in a process and to create a document [Climate Action Plan] that was specifically suited to our campus and to our community, our values, our principals, and our priorities. Our President, our sustainability committee, and I feel strongly that the values of our community are a major asset as we move forward, so it was important that we engage in an outreach and input process that included everyone – students, staff, faculty, administrators, trustees, alumni, and other elements of our community.

Through this process we realized, for instance, that issues of environmental health and environmental justice are particularly important to Pomona, and we’re able to focus on those issues as we move forward.  For the past few years we’ve been busy assessing our priorities and what we should be doing with our sustainability-related funds; this year, our President wanted to acknowledge everything we’ve been doing and to show support for ACUPCC and Second Nature and their leadership by contributing at a leadership level.” Pomona College’s Climate Action Plan calls for a 20% reduction by 2020.  Stay tuned, as Pomona will release an updated version of their CAP plan very soon.

Today, the ACUPCC has a membership dues participation rate of 83%.  There is still time to be listed as having participated in the dues program in the 2010 ACUPCC Annual Report.