Celebrating 15 Years of Climate Leadership in Higher Education

2022 marked the 15th Anniversary of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments of the Climate Leadership Network. A Network full of heart, courage, and dedication.

In reflection of our collective progress, and in celebration of all of you who helped us along the way, please enjoy this compilation video, first shown at the 2022 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. 

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How It Started

In late 2006, 12 college and university presidents initiated the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Supported by Second Nature, AASHE, and EcoAmerica, the 12 presidents/chancellors, motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to lead on climate action and sustainability for the sake of their students and society, invited their peers to join the climate commitment. By the end of 2007, more than 350 campuses joined as Charter Signatories

How It Has Been Going

Over the course of the next 15 years, millions of students were educated at campuses within the Climate Leadership Network. These campuses, with commitments to carbon neutrality and/or resilience, educated students in the classroom, significantly modernized operations, and engaged in partnership with their communities to foster resilience. Since the launch of the commitments the Climate Leadership Network has reported nearly 4,000 greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and 600 Climate Action Plans (CAPs), publicly sharing their progress, reduction targets, and strategies to meet commitments.  

In addition to substantial impact on students’ education and significant operations changes to campuses, the commitments spurred investment in the sustainability profession in higher education. Many campus sustainability professionals have told us they owe their careers in part to the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments. 

What’s Next

While we take the time to reflect and celebrate our last fifteen years together, we also want to recognize that there is so much more work for higher education to do. Climate action and justice continues to take all of us, and we remain humbled and inspired everyday by the opportunity to do this work with all of you.  Onward and upward!