Allegheny College: Deep Infrastructure Sustainability

By Kelly Boulton, Sustainability Coordinator, Allegheny College

(This article appears in the May, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Sustainability at Allegheny College is a community endeavor. In collaboration with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, we’ve pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2020. To meet this goal we’ve integrated sustainability principles into budgets, daily operations, job descriptions, purchasing and contract policies, and our Strategic Plan. Students explore and advance sustainability in interdisciplinary courses, innovative research such as aquaponics and wind feasibility studies, collaborations with the City of Meadville and local schools, and extracurricular activities such as the annual October Energy Challenge and the Trashion Show. Creating a video to highlight our institution’s unique culture of sustainability as a finalist for Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Award was a rich and informative experience.  Conversations with our president, senior staff, faculty and students revealed a consistent yet multifaceted appreciation of our current sustainability initiatives as well as a deep-rooted commitment to the practical approaches needed to support future efforts and to meet our climate neutrality goal.