President Papazian strives for zero carbon footprint

Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter

According to the Princeton Review, Southern Connecticut State University is among the top 332 schools in the country for sustainability. The Princeton Review is a popular service used by prospective students. The company ranks schools in a variety of subjects, and have over 150 published digests.

In the profile, the Princeton Review mentions Southern’s dining services, citing the fact that Southern uses cage-free eggs and recyclable products.

In keeping with the sustainability theme, the University took extra steps during the building of the new science building to maintain and enhance Southern’s image as a sustainable institution.

Southern’s sustainability efforts reached a new high earlier this November, when President Mary Papazian realigned Southern Connecticut State University with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

According to the President’s blog, Southern joined ACUPCC in 2006. The Commission was created to join forces with other universities, all with the same goal in mind – to cut their respective institution’s carbon footprint to zero by the year 2050.

In a blog post, the president said: “In 2014, Second Nature, which oversees these efforts, introduced the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC) to begin exploring climate adaptation and resilience as a complement to the ACUPCC. Now, the ACUPCC has been updated as a Carbon Commitment and, to advance the mission of ARC, a new Resilience Commitment has been formed. Together, the carbon neutrality and resilience commitments constitute a new integrated Climate Commitment, to which Southern is now a signatory.”

Southern is one of only 40 original members of ACUPCC. Currently, the program has the support of nearly 600 universities, nation wide.

The new Climate Commitment was created to refocus the institutions that took the pledge to cut their carbon footprint to zero by 2050.

Papazian said, in a blog post, “Under the new Climate Commitment, we will incorporate sustainability across all of our operations – work on which we already have made steady progress during the last five years. We are educating our students to prepare them for environmental issues that will be prevalent when they graduate, and the new commitment means that we will be building a community around sustainability.”

The commitment will require support from all hands of the university, including professors, staff, administrators and students. Papazian believes that the battle for a sustainable world does not begin and end at the university level.

“We also are educating our students to prepare them for environmental issues that will be prevalent when they graduate, and the new commitment means that we are going farther than just striving for carbon neutrality,” Papazian said. “The Climate Leadership Commitment is more than just a declaration or statement: it is a catalyst for rigorous and robust actions on our campus and in our community.”

The university has been working on this goal for many years, and the strides are very visible. Southern’s place in the sustainable institutions is based on the university’s sustainable practices, including recycling, the use of electronic textbooks, and reducing the amount of waste the university produces.

Suzanne Huminski, the Sustainability Coordinator, is responsible for being the liaison between the university and Second Nature, the company that oversees ACUPCC. According to the president’s blog, Huminski will alert to university community with opportunities and resources provided by Second Nature and ACUPCC.

Photo Credit: Staff Photo


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