Climate Action Goals

Revision as of 20:19, January 22, 2007 by 09aka (talk | contribs) (Inspired by the Middlebury Conference)

2007-2008 Climate Action Goals

Inspired by the Middlebury Conference

Building Activism on Campus: We should inspire a new climate of activism at Williams. We need to strengthen and expand the groups that are working on climate change and incorporate new groups into our movement by reaching out to them.

1. Thursday Night Group and Greensense should be strengthened by continuing to reach out to knowledgeable people from diverse backgrounds. We need to engage people with things they want to do and use their talents in the best possible way. Professors can have a huge influence on students in various classes to encourage them to get involved. Thursday Night Group can ask its members to reach out to professors in every department. The best way to build a group identity is to engage people in projects, especially ones that have visible results. We can include people who don't come to meetings if we bring them projects that are simple but have observable results, thereby "opening the door" to slightly more in depth projects.

2. Hold periodic brainstorming sessions to include group members ideas and input into the group's direction.

3. CEAC should use its unique status as a student/faculty/staff committee to focus on setting policy for the college by listening to input from people throughout the college. CEAC shouldn't focus on projects as much because there are so many other student groups that are motivated and capable of doing projects. It would function much better as a policy setting body rather than a 'doing' body.

4.Incorporate other groups into our activism. We can set up dinner discussions with groups to talk about climate change as it relates to their issues. We need to let them engage the issue on their own terms.

5.Encourage students to apply for and serve on important committees like CPR, CEP, CC, CSHR, etc. Emphasize the important work that can and should be done.

On-Campus Education:

1.Use our opportunities when students are in the outdoors to bring up facts about climate change to inspire interest and investment. This could consist a sheet of information that would be read off by leaders to their groups and hopefully inspire some sort of discussion. The sheet would consist of some observable present and future effects of climate change in the Berkshires as well as some prompts of discussion questions. Would be a great addition to the WOOLF and other first-days programs since that is the time that students are most receptive to new ideas and policies.

2.Create a student position to help events become more sustainable. This person could operate through the co-sponsorship fund and other party throwing groups to provide the extra hands necessary for green events. We could use funds (LUCE grant?) to give money to groups to buy party supplies from more sustainable sources, fund parties if they comply with certain recycling standards, such as recycling signage for cups, bottles, cans, etc.

3.The cluster system is designed to have a position such as Eco-Reps which could educate dorms about recycling and other issues.

4.The Flick Me Off campaign. Have a pledge to turn off appliances. Post the list of pledgers in a very visible place online and on campus.

5.Adopt-a-Senator. Make a clothes-line to hang up at TNG holding letters that we've written to congressmen. This can be an ongoing project to make our actions very visible to ourselves and encourage more people to participate. We can focus on issues, such as the upcoming senate vote on the HR 7 (repealing subsidies to large oil companes) as well as campus based, such as emailing Morty.

6.Continue the CFL exhange project, coordinating through Greensense and Thursday Night Group. Set a goal date for each house to eliminate their incandescent bulbs, and involve the cluster system and Eco-Reps.

7.Communicate with first-year students before they arrive on campus about buying Energy Star appliances and sharing appliances such as refrigerators. Include a flyer in the freshman packet and add purchasing tips to the Bell Book.

8. Continue planning for Focus the Nation on January 31, 2008 including trying to get people involved with spreading the word to their secondary schools.

Institutional Buy In:

1.The Bright Card is a credit card which donates 1% of all purchases towards buying carbon credits. It will be available as a college purchase card and will function just like a credit card. If the college spends 4% of its operating budget through these cards it will account for 25% of the college's carbon footprint.

2.Green Fund (name should denote climate action): Create a fund as part of the endowment to invest in on-campus sustainability improvements, including infrastructure and academic changes. Examples include green building features, retrofitting buildings, transportation (purchasing hybrid security vehicles), funding curriculum development, etc. This fund could be created from a portion of the endowment, as a new fund for alumni to contribute to, as a class of 2008 gift. This part requires research into other school's programs, (Harvard, Middlebury, UNC).

3.Green Building Policy with real power. Green building certification on all new buildings with a requirement for energy points within the certification. Williams should limit its own building policies in some way. It could either set a maximum or average energy use per square foot, or cap the square footage of campus to prevent expansive (yet green) building projects. We should have a policy of retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient than before. Questions for Steve and Stephanie: How can we get more involved in the building planning process? Is it too late for Stetson/Sawyer? How can we influence the new athletic facilities? What power do we have? How do we find out at the very beginning of the process for a new building? Would it help to use outside sources of loans for efficient buildings (services such as ESCO?) What is the best forum to discuss these issues?

4.Curriculum Development: There are several ways to integrate climate change into the curriculum in a way that utilizes various discipline's unique perspectives on the issue and its solutions. Talk to Dave Dethier about using the LUCE grant for what it is intended for – curriculum development. Consider global warming in future professor's backgrounds. Upcoming hiring in environmental studies, humanities, economics, etc. Even if professors aren't focused on climate change they should still be asked 'how would you incorporate this into your class' during the interview process. Use Focus the Nation as a program for professors to add climate change to their existing classes and use our knowledge to give professors a resource for making it relevant to their subjects. (look for resources at UNC and other schools)

5.Involve the COOL committee in our planning for college action. They are a motivated group of community members who are doing lots of work on their own projects.