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Appalachian’s sustainability initiatives recognized in Washington, D.C.

BOONE—Appalachian State University was one of 38 institutions of higher learning invited to participate in the American Campuses Act on Climate Roundtable Nov. 19 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Chancellor Sheri N. Everts represented the university in discussions about climate change solutions facilitated by the White House and the State Department. The event was designed to facilitate meaningful dialogue on climate change solutions and activate an ambitious energy and voice among young people.

It featured leadership from higher education institutions, including school administrators and student leaders. They called for action on climate change and encouraged a strong agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference that ultimately will set a viable path towards a low-carbon, sustainable future.

Other attendees included high-level government officials, non-government organizations and businesses leaders.

The day-of-action also launched the Defend Our Future climate pledge students can sign to demonstrate their support. The pledge for colleges and universities reads as follows:

“As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris. Although we are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future, we recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campuses.”

Appalachian pledged to continue to build on its existing renewable energy research practices by expanding campus use of renewable energy resources and green energy, continue to reduce on-campus energy and water use and increase efforts to achieve a zero waste goal by 2022, among other action items.

“As boldly stated in our university’s strategic plan, The Appalachian Experience: Envisioning a Just and Sustainable Future, we are ‘inspired by the ideal of sustainable community’ and support our students in becoming ‘engaged global citizens,’” Everts wrote. “Further, as a university, we are committed to being ‘an influential world citizen’; thus, this pledge is consistent with the values and ethos of our campus community. Our rich tradition and decades-long commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our many efforts and accomplishments.”

Earlier in the day Everts joined representatives from Western Technical College in Wisconsin for the 2015 Climate Leadership Award presentation, also held in Washington, D.C. The award was presented by the nonprofit agency Second Nature and The U.S. Green Building Council.

Appalachian was recognized in the four-year higher education category for its ongoing commitment and leadership in sustainability. Western Technical College was honored in the two-year institution category.

The award recognizes innovative and advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience at college and university campuses that participate in Second Nature’s Climate Commitments.

More information about the honor is online at http://www.news.appstate.edu/2015/10/08/climate-leadership-award.

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