President Jonathan C. Gibralter made history April 18 when during the occasion of his inauguration, he pledged Frostburg State University’s commitment to fighting global warming by signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a national pact that to date has united more than 160 higher education leaders in efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate their campus’ greenhouse gas emissions.
“Global warming is a defining challenge of our time,” Dr. Gibralter said. “As a large and complex institution whose goal is to educate tomorrow’s leaders, we have an obligation to prevent damage to the environment.”
Following Mount Saint Mary’s University, FSU is the second academic institution in the state of Maryland to sign the pledge and commit to going “climate neutral,” meaning it will reduce global warming emissions as much as possible and foster educational and research efforts to help society re-stabilize the earth’s climate.
The pledge is the latest in a series of ongoing efforts at FSU that highlight its strength and potential as an environmental leader. In addition to committing to fighting global warming through campus-wide initiatives, the University is also using funds from a Maryland Energy Administration grant to study wind and solar energy as renewable sources of power, a project that calls upon the expertise of a variety of different disciplines and will involve constructing a demonstration system with a 35-45 ft. wind turbine and photovoltaic solar panels to supply energy to a small building on the FSU campus. FSU will also host two conferences on sustainable living and renewable energy in September—opportunities for research, dialogue and scholarship that will draw upon its strong academic offerings in wildlife and fisheries, biology, recreation and parks management, geography and ethnobotany. FSU’s Sierra Club chapter has implemented several recycling initiatives that supplement the University’s programs. FSU’s student body also commemorated Gibralter’s commitment to the environment by deciding to celebrate Earth Day on the day of inauguration, April 18—several days before the official date of Earth Day on April 22.
“We are interested in not only developing our campus as a center for the use of wind and solar energy, but also other renewable sources as well,” Gibralter said. “We currently have a Task Force of faculty and staff who are carefully investigating and recommending ways we can neutralize our greenhouse gas emissions and negate our impact on the atmosphere.”
In addition to forming a campus task force, by signing the Presidents Climate Commitment, FSU also pledges to uphold a series of initiatives, including the following:
- Adopting green standards for buildings
- Requiring ENERGY STAR certification for products purchased by the University
- Encouraging public transportation
- Purchasing energy from renewable sources
- Offsetting emissions due to air travel
- Supporting climate and sustainability shareholder proposals through their endowment
"Colleges and universities must lead the effort to reverse global warming for the health and well-being of current and future generations," said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University and a founding member of the ACUPCC Leadership Circle. "On behalf of all the signatories, I welcome Dr. Gibralter to the commitment; we are honored and pleased to have him join us."
Under the guidance and direction of the Leadership Circle of presidents, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is being supported and implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Second Nature, and ecoAmerica. ACUPCC is inspired by the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and other collective efforts by state and businesses. To learn more about the initiative, visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland.
For more information about FSU, contact the Office of Admissions at (301) 687-4201 or visit the University’s Web site at www.frostburg.edu.