Dickinson College’s Climate Action Plan aims to attain climate neutrality by 2020. Current efforts include the conversion of the central energy plant boilers to burn Viesel, a net-zero carbon biofuel made from filtered waste vegetable oil. The college purchases renewable wind energy credits equivalent to 100% of annual electricity consumption and has installed 84 kilowatts of solar photovoltaics with student assistance and produces 50-100 gallons of biodiesel per week from waste vegetable oil in student run biodiesel shop.
In 2009, Dickinson was awarded a grant from NASA to lead a 3-year project that will train faculty from Dickinson and 10 other colleges and universities to teach about climate change. The NASA funded project is part of a broader initiative to integrate sustainability throughout the Dickinson curriculum, facilitated by the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education (CESE). CESE also participates in a national project of the NCSE that is developing materials for teaching about climate change and in a State of Pennsylvania working group to plan for climate change adaptation.
Dickinson offers a number of courses on climate change and has hosted numerous climate change events, including Focus the Nation, 350.org Day of Action, Climate Conversations Week, and COP15 at Dickinson. Fifteen students attended COP15 as part of a yearlong course “From Kyoto to Copenhagen,” where they interviewed conference delegates for a research project. The students shared their work and experience through organized campus and community events, presented a paper at a Penn State University conference, and participated in a national AASHE webinar.