Bentley has committed to purchasing 100 percent of its electricity to power the campus from renewable sources by 2026 and to becoming the first carbon-neutral university in Massachusetts by 2030, according to the university’s new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
“Becoming carbon neutral is an ambitious goal that requires the Office of Sustainability to work with the broader Bentley community — faculty, staff and students — to develop creative and effective strategies,” says Amanda King, chief of staff to Bentley President E. LaBrent Chrite and executive director of the Office of Sustainability. “As we build upon all the great sustainability work that has happened at Bentley over the past 15 years, we are poised to be the first carbon-neutral college or university in Massachusetts, joining just 10 other schools nationwide who have achieved that goal.”
Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
In 2007, Bentley was among the first colleges and universities nationwide to sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging to set a carbon neutrality target. Since then, more than 700 colleges and universities nationwide have signed the commitment and are actively working to decrease campus greenhouse gas emissions. Bentley’s first climate plan launched in 2010 and helped the university to reach two key emissions reduction targets: a 50 percent reduction in campus greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 and a 70 percent reduction in campus greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Bentley’s new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan focuses on climate resilience, further reductions in campus greenhouse gas emissions, equity and education. The Office of Sustainability held campus-wide community engagement sessions with faculty, staff, students and alumni to gather feedback during the planning process.
BENTLEY’S SUSTAINABILITY VISION STATEMENT
- Bentley is a model for sustainability in higher education, developing organizational leaders committed to making their institutions, communities and the world more sustainable.
- Our operations and education reflect a commitment to sustainability and climate justice by students, faculty and staff.
- Our community is equitable and resilient, promoting innovative thinking to solve the sustainability issues of today and tomorrow.
“Bentley’s first climate action plan did a great job of guiding us to where we are today as a more sustainable university,” says Sophie Rodgers ’20, who joined the Office of Sustainability as manager of sustainability shortly after graduating with her B.S. in Marketing and Liberal Studies. “Sustainability work has evolved over the last decade. As a mostly business university, we’re uniquely positioned to think about sustainability in a business lens. We’re expanding on the idea of Bentley as a sustainable business and thinking more broadly about aspects like environmental justice and environmental racism.”
That kind of work cannot be done out of one office, Rodgers adds. “It’s exciting to cultivate all of the great knowledge at Bentley: Professors who specialize in sustainability, a Facilities Management team who are committed to ensuring our campus runs as efficient as possible, alumni who support energy efficiency projects — to name a few.”
The Office of Sustainability also created a team of Student Sustainability Leaders in 2018 to help execute and oversee the campus-wide initiatives that help Bentley get closer to its sustainability goals. In that same year, the university opened the new Bentley Arena, the most environmentally sustainable in the U.S. and the first standalone ice arena to earn the LEED platinum certification, the highest possible rating.
King says that Bentley’s sustainability goals have broad impact. “In addition to sustainability initiatives on campus, we also aim to develop future leaders committed to making their institutions, communities and the world more sustainable.”
Source: Bentley University Newsroom