Dartmouth to Hold Sustainability Summit

News subtitle

The Feb. 28 event will present goals for Our Green Future 2.0.

Baker-Berry library at dusk in the winter
(Photo by Chris Johnson)

Dartmouth working groups are taking stock of the institution’s progress on sustainability goals and getting ready to propose an updated roadmap for the future through a community effort called Our Green Future 2.0.

The groups are set to meet at a summit on Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Murdough Center in the West End. President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 will kick off the summit, with the session’s opening remarks livestreamed.

The project, which began this past fall, follows President Hanlon’s 2017 Earth Day commitment to a wide-ranging set of sustainability goals informed by a report commissioned a year earlier and compiled by an interdisciplinary task force of faculty, students, and staff. The report, Our Green Future (PDF), called for evaluation and renewal of Dartmouth’s progress every five years as a way to drive innovation and allow for the integration of new insight.

“Dartmouth has a part to play, both in how we live and learn on campus and in our generation of new knowledge through research and the education of leaders in the field of sustainability,” says Hanlon. “I look forward to learning about the working groups’ progress and, in the spring, receiving their recommendations on how we move forward.”

Included in Hanlon’s 2017 goals was a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations by 50% by 2025, and by 80% by 2050. The original Our Green Future report outlined principles, standards, and targets on the use of resources, such as water, and reductions in areas including waste sent to landfills and the reuse of hard goods.

The current working groups, made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and area residents, have been assessing Dartmouth’s progress in the areas of energy, food, water, transportation, landscape and ecology, materials and waste, and community impact. At the summit, the groups will be meeting together for the first time as they present their goals and strategies and look for synergies across the operational areas.

“President Hanlon has aimed us in the right direction, elevating our ambition. This is an opportunity for us to clarify Dartmouth’s contribution to solving for climate change in ways large and small,” says Rosi Kerr ’97, Dartmouth’s director of sustainability. “The urgency of climate change and sustainability issues is clear. We have more to do, and we are constantly evaluating our progress.”

The Our Green Future 2.0 planning process was designed to identify common goals and values and build lasting buy-in across key stakeholder groups, bringing together staff in implementation roles, faculty with research knowledge, involved students, and community members to create a plan that Kerr says will be led by vision, grounded in expertise, and supported by action.

“By reaching across disciplines and silos, and thinking about our campus holistically, we can reduce our negative environmental impacts more effectively, and make connections that strengthen Dartmouth. And, by connecting operations to our teaching and research mission, we can create alignment for climate action,” she says.

After the summit, the Sustainability Office will compile the recommended goals and strategies from each working group for Hanlon’s consideration.

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