FGCU Announces Commitment to
Achieve Higher Environmental Standard
FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University Interim President Richard Pegnetter recently signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment as a Charter Signatory on behalf of FGCU to build upon the University's longstanding commitment to environmental and ecological sustainability.
This commitment is a high-visibility effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to reduce energy and consumption and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campuses.
"Signing this commitment builds upon the University's successes promoting environmental stewardship in the design and operation for the campus, and sets new goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the sustainability of University operations. As a member of America's higher education community, FGCU can play a determinant role in addressing climate change. Leading society in this effort fits well into the educational, research and public service missions of the University," said Interim President Pegnetter.
"The college and university presidents and chancellors who are joining and leading the Commitment believe that exerting leadership in addressing climate change will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni and local communities."
The climate commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming. It provides a framework and support for the University to move towards climate neutral operations.
Lewis Johnson, FGCU director of Environmental Health and Safety said, "As the University looks forward to its next decade of operation, we also look forward to continuously improving our success in environmental stewardship. Signing the American College & University Presents Climate Control Commitment has established the goals for our next efforts."
According to Johnson, implementing the commitment consists of three sections. The first is to create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan and initiate two or more specific actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed. A taskforce to implement programs promoting the use of public and non-motorized transportation, and the adoption of an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas has been established.
Second, create a comprehensive inventory of the University's greenhouse gas emissions. A taskforce exploring ways to encourage the use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff and students has been established.
Third, develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral, which will include a target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible; incorporate climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum; and expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality.
Measures already in place to help conserve resources at FGCU include operation of one of the state's largest ice thermal storage plants, enhancing the campus' energy efficiency; the University's campus design includes control plans that result in no net increase in the rate of and quantity of storm water runoff from existing to developed conditions; building designs that incorporate standards for building to withstand intense sun, hurricane-strength winds and substantial rainfall; campus buildings allow for the use of central printers and copiers, reducing the energy inefficiency of individual desktop printers on each employee's desk; no use of chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants in educational building air conditions and fire suppression systems; and construction debris removed from campus building sites is processed offsite for recycling.
For more information, media representatives should contact Lewis Johnson at (239) 590-1036.