Survey asks for student, faculty driving patterns

The College took its first steps last week toward completely eliminating its greenhouse gas emissions. A survey for faculty and staff was posted on the College’s Web site to determine the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions the College produces due to ground transportation. A mass e-mail containing the survey was also sent to students.

Since the signing of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) last summer by College President R. Barbara Gitenstein, the College has had environmental protection and global warming on its agenda. The sole purpose of the ACUPCC is to eliminate emissions that cause global warming from universities and colleges across the country. The participating schools will eventually become climate-neutral or have net zero carbon emissions.

According to Michael Horst, assistant professor of civil engineering and chair of the Campus Climate Commitment Committee, the College has deadlines that need to be met.

The first initiative taken was to gauge the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that faculty, staff and students produce from electricity, power, air travel, ground transportation and other sources. The College has been allotted one year to find this information.

“We want to get a grasp of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we produce over campus from sources such as electrical generation for power to exhaust emissions from transport,” Horst said. “Once we have this information, we can develop methods to see how we can reduce these omissions so the net result is zero.”

However, this process will take time.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight, but it might take 20 years,” Horst said. “We want to get off the electrical grid and start generating our own electricity. Our goal is to reduce as much as possible.” He cited wind-generated power as a possible solution.

Along with collecting greenhouse gas data, the College has already implemented two actions from an ACUPCC list. This list was provided to all participating schools and it provides various options that can be taken to help fight global warming on campus. The College’s first action was to purchase only new appliances that have an Energy Star rating. The second action was to ensure that 15 percent of all energy purchased for the campus be renewable.

“We are committed to doing this,” Horst said.

Students, faculty and staff members who wish to access the survey may do so at Those seeking more information regarding the ACUPCC and the College’s actions toward combating global warming may visit According to Horst, the Web site is still very new and the College is actively seeking someone to maintain it.