Delaware State University Recognized for Climate Leadership

Delaware State University(DSU) receives Second Nature’s 2nd Annual Climate Leadership Award. Award recipients were recognized at the 5th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Summit in Washington, DC on June 23rd, hosted by George Washington University.

Leadership at DSU, inclusive of President Harry Williams down to the Deans of the colleges, has spearheaded the development of a culture of teamwork to change the patterns of past waste and lack of concern regarding the university’s impact on the environment to one of striving to be an example of sustainability stewardship. Staff are encouraged to make recommendations on how to be better stewards of the earth’s resources, and the formation of a 16 member steering committee was just the beginning. Subcommittees quickly followed and teams of faculty, staff and students now assemble regularly to ensure the direction of the University’s green efforts.

DSU staff participate in a variety of sustainable efforts including; climate action conferences, webinars and numerous conference calls with sustainability groups from within the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and other organizations. Most notably being a participant in a panel hosted by ACUPCC and the UNCF at the United Nations COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010.

DSU is proud of the formation of a student organization, the Green Ambassadors. Students were supported in their work towards organizing Earth Day 2011, to attend Power Shift 2011, become ecoAmbassadors as part of the newly launchedEPA campus based program, work with the College of Agriculture replacing desolate areas on campus with sustainability gardens, and one student was the national award winner for sustainability efforts on campus by AASHE. None of this would have been allowed without the support of university leadership.

One of the sustainability subcommittees is the green curriculum subcommittee. This group, composed of the associate provost, faculty, and students, has been working over the year to inventory current courses that are within the scope of sustainability with a goal of creating an interdisciplinary minor. The co-chair of the subcommittee just led a state wide forum with her graduate students on how climate change is negatively impacting oyster populations in the area and how their research is discovering ways to mitigate the problem. Twice a week in the university’s eblast to the community at large, “green” tips on conservation and prevention are given. Outreach is conducted with national organizations that can share best practices with the DSU family, and mentors other small universities and HBCUs on structuring and implementing sustainability programs on their campuses.

DSU is working with the city of Dover to reduce its energy cost by taking advantage of the newly built solar park. DSU planted over 80 trees of all varieties and registered each. DSU will implement measures to increase energy efficiency and upgrade important facility systems using an innovative option for financing capital improvements with energy savings. This in turn will reduce the University’s carbon footprint in support of the Commitment and reduce energy costs. A guaranteed energy saving performance contract (ESCO) is being utilized. The facility upgrades will translate into positives in the students’ educational and living environments and the administrative staff work environment.