At this year’s Summit, we had a record number of attendees; that’s all of YOU.
Thank you for viewing the annual Summit as a chance to gather with your peers to focus on climate action. Thank you for not only showing up, but for leaving with plans of action in place for creating climate solutions. Thank you for illustrating to your campuses and your communities that the time is now for all of us to take climate action.
Thank you to many of you who have shared your takeaways with us from the Summit. Below, you will find Summit takeaways that some members of of the Second Nature team had.
“I’m reminded again that leadership — and commitments — matter. Seeing several presidents and their teams accept awards for achieving carbon neutrality was hugely inspiring. No longer is carbon neutrality perceived as an unrealistic goal, especially when achieved by such schools diverse in geography and type. Seeing these ambitious goals realized and celebrated is further proof that bold climate leadership matters. Signatory institutions in the Climate Leadership Network have made demonstrably more progress than others: between 2010 and 2018, signatories have reduced purchased electricity emissions by 26%, compared to 6% for non-signatories, ninety percent of renewable energy purchases by colleges and universities were made by signatories, and signatory institutions consume much less natural gas. These reductions were accomplished even though building square footage increased by 13% and student enrollment grew by 9%. I look forward to celebrating another round of carbon neutral campuses at next year’s Summit.”Michele Madia, Director of Programs and Communications
“Everyone at the Summit was tremendously focused on discussing what role higher education plays when it comes to creating climate solutions, that was evident. But what was also evident, is how excited and determined everyone was as well. It wasn’t about checking off the box that they attended the Summit as a representative of their school or their company. It was about really being at the table to be an active participant in continuing to make real change through climate action. You can see that in the photos that were taken, and if you were at the Summit, you got to see that in-person.”Amanda Belles, Communications and Marketing Manager
“At the Summit, I got the sense that higher education leaders were clearly feeling the pressure. The pressure to meet the “10-year deadline” (i.e., the IPPC’s call to reduce global GHG emissions by around 45% by 2030). The pressure to reach net zero by midcentury. And generally, the pressure to give the issue of climate change the proper resources, attention, and action it deserves. However, what was exciting to see was all the ways in which leaders were stepping up to the plate with creative and meaningful solutions to reduce emissions and help make their communities more just and resilient. And not only that, they were committed to sharing their ideas openly, encouraging and supporting one another, and challenging each other to continually raise the stakes. That to me is true climate leadership.”J. Alexander Maxwell, Cross-Sector Climate Programs Manager
“I was impressed by how many schools are making serious progress on climate resilience planning. Just a few years ago, when we launched the Resilience Commitment, few schools had a full understanding of climate resilience, and even fewer had completed resilience assessments. Now, several campuses are working closely with their towns and cities to adapt to the changing climate. Unfortunately many schools have also faced severe climate-related disasters, such as wildfires. However, I’m encouraged by the leadership schools are showing in these situations, and in the creative ways campuses are working with their communities to create a more resilient future.”Ruby Woodside, Climate Programs Senior Manager
“Because no campus is an island, I was pleased to see so much knowledge-sharing among the participants: the campus leaders as well as those who provide critically important services to campuses. These peer-to-peer exchanges of information are particularly important because the array of new products and services that are available to reduce costs, reduce energy use, and reduce CO2 emissions, both on-campus as well as off-campus. The success stories show others what is possible, and the failures (less discussed) help others avoid the pitfalls.”Eric Howard, Director of Strategic Partnerships