DENVER –- The University of Pennsylvania received Second Nature’s first Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence yesterday at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment Summit here.
Penn President Amy Gutmann, who champions the University’s environmental efforts, provides the leadership that complements the extensive network of students, faculty and staff known as the Penn Green Campus Partnership, an umbrella group created to foster a culture of sustainability. For two years, an advisory committee of more than 40 campus constituents, led by Anne Papageorge, vice president of facilities and real estate services, collaborated to produce the Climate Action Plan, an outline of strategies to reduce Penn’s carbon footprint.
In addition to the strategies outlined in the Plan, Penn emphasizes its sustainability mission through:
- Its long-time position as the largest purchaser of green power among American universities, with more than 192,000 megawatts (46 percent of total power used) of wind energy purchased annually.
- The Penn Eco-Reps program, which includes all college houses and more than 100 faculty and staff volunteers who participate in monthly workshops to improve the sustainability of their workplaces and dorms.
- The Penn Green Fund, which seeds innovative ideas in sustainability with one-time grants of as much as $50,000.
- The T.C. Chan Center, a partnership with China’s Tsinghua University, that unites students and international experts to research and develop strategies for sustainable environments and high-performance, energy-efficient buildings.
- A new sustainability minor and specialized sustainability tracks within several schools, in addition to a series of workshops for faculty.
- PennGreen, a pre-orientation program offered to incoming freshmen that provides students with an environmental introduction to Penn and Philadelphia.
- The Penn Connects campus development plan, which will increase the amount of green space by more than 20 percent, convert parking lots to parkland, mitigate storm-water runoff and reduce urban heat island effect.
- An Energy Reduction Fund that has been established to provide schools and centers with incentives to pursue conservation projects.
- Its role in the largest university car-sharing program in the country with PhillyCarShare, a 50,000-member nonprofit organization.
Additional information about Penn’s sustainability initiatives is available at www.upenn.edu/sustainability/.