Warren Wilson College Recognized for Climate Leadership

Warren Wilson College receives Second Nature’s 1st Annual Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence in Climate Leadership. Award recipients were recognized at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Summit in Denver, CO on October 12th.

Catalyzed by President, Sandy Pfeiffer’s signing of the ACUPCC in 2007, Warren Wilson College’s (WWC) sustainability progress has accelerated significantly in the areas of senior leadership, academics, and work and service.

Highlights of WWC’s climate leadership include but are not limited to the following actions:

Senior Leadership Engagement:

  • PAC team formally adopts sustainable decision making
  • President receives two grants for sustainability curriculum with 2011 focus on Energy
  • Chief Sustainability Official leads 20 faculty, staff, and students to develop CAP
  • Provost appoints faculty Director of Sustainability Education
  • Human Resources director modifies staff evaluations to assess sustainability actions
  • Facilities Director creates student Energy Services Crew, Strategic Energy Management Plan to support CAP
  • CFO approves Funds to support CAP
  • Trustees approve 5-year Strategic Plan with “Sustainability” as Core Value and CAP as action step
  • Dean of Work guides new Land Use Plan that supports CAP; modifies student work evaluations to assess sustainability actions

Campus-wide Learning Experiences:

  • Environmental Leadership Center provides monthly Climate Action Tips; quarterly energy use reports; annual GHG inventory; energy awareness events; annual Dorm Energy Challenge; Green Walkabout© campus tour for new students; annual sustainability newsletter Catalyst; annual Sustainability Speakers eg Bill McKibben, Andy Revkin, Lester Brown, Ray Anderson, Majora Carter; annual Mountain Green Sustainable Communities conference; annual Sustainability Internship Program for WWC students; INSULATE!’s weatherization of poverty-level homes; EcoTeam, including Energy and Climate units, for 80% of county third-graders; weekly, sustainability-focused, public radio program
  • Academics: psychology department conducts campus behavior change study for CAP; environmental studies students research viable carbon offsets; chemistry department focuses objectives on energy and climate; International Programs actively reduce carbon footprint; new curriculum assesses full-cost of energy and climate; faculty research sustainable agriculture, forestry, decision making, faith communities and climate action, political barriers to carbon-free fuels
  • Service: students provide 20,000+ hours annually of sustainability-related service; Work: students raise 10% of produce and 80% of beef served in cafeteria; operate acclaimed recycling program; maintain campus native landscaping; use GreenSeal products; build LEED Gold certified buildings; install waterless urinals and low flow fixtures; develop real-time energy monitoring

Innovative Strategies and Financing:

  • Solar array kW’s sold to NC Green Power finance climate action
  • Partner Progress Energy funds energy audit equipment, EcoTeam, workshops to proliferate INSULATE! programs
  • New WWC Funds: Community Sustainability Fund,  Real-time Monitoring Fund, Energy Reduction Fund, Climate Action Presidential Grants, Renewable Energy Fund, Sustainability Fund, Campus Greening Seed Grants
  • Two new Sustainability Endowments for scholarships and community outreach
  • Formal Climate Action and Sustainability Partnership with City of Asheville

For more on WWC’s sustainability efforts visit: