In a “Beyond Business as Usual” commitment by Chevrolet, Spelman College will sell certified carbon credits to the automaker, which will net the institution up to $100,000. Launched in 2010, the sale is part of a voluntary carbon reduction initiative undertaken by Chevrolet to prevent up to eight million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering Earth’s atmosphere.
In recognition of their partnership, Spelman is hosting a presentation today with Chevrolet, coinciding with National Campus Sustainability Day. Building upon the College’s mission to achieve climate neutrality, Spelman and 5 other colleges and universities are currently taking part in Chevrolet’s campus energy efficiency campaign to reduce climate change impacts. Of the twelve colleges, Spelman is the only women’s college, the only Georgia college, and the only historically black college or university in the partnership.
Other colleges participating in the Chevrolet program include Ball State University, Grand Valley University, Southern Oregon University, the University of Illinois at Urban Champaign and Valencia College. Additional academic institutions to be added into Chevrolet’s program are expected in an announcement later today by at Spelman’s Campus Sustainability Day presentation.
The Spelman Climate Action Plan
Spelman College is advancing sustainability through its Climate Action Plan. Adopted in 2009, this is the year Spelman begain measuring its baseline greenhouse gas emissions. By 2031, the College’s 150th anniversary, they aim to have reduced carbon emissions by 50 percent. They are aiming for 100 percent by 2056.
Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum recently announced, “Spelman has made significant progress in reducing our ecological footprint with the implementation of our Climate Action Plan and the integration of specific goals to achieve a ‘greener community’ into our Strategic Plan for 2017.” Dr. Tatum continued, “We are excited about our partnership with Chevrolet as it is recognition of Spelman’s ongoing efforts to increase our stewardship of our natural resources.”
Art Frazier, Spelman College director of facilities management and services, added “We are halfway to our 2031 carbon emissions goal of a 50 percent reduction. The funds from the Chevrolet Campus Clean Energy Campaign will provide a jumpstart for further reducing our greenhouse gas inventory.”
Laura Spelman Hall Earns LEED Gold
One of the strategies in Spelman’s Climate Action Plan is ensuring campus facilities are energy efficient. Building retro-commissioning and LED lighting are among the investments planned from the sale of carbon credits to Chevrolet. Spelman has reduced carbon emissions campus-wide with a series of energy efficient/clean energy measures, such as central heating and cooling system upgrades, lighting retrofits in several campus buildings, on parking decks and on exterior pole lights. Laura Spelman Hall was renovated, as well, and earned LEED Gold certification in 2012.
The United States Green Building Council works closely with institutions like Spelman that have made the shift to green building efficiency and LEED certification.
George Bandy, Jr., chair of the USGBC says, “We applaud Spelman College for their participation in this program and continuing to take a leadership role by making a choice to green their campus and change the world.” He continued, “USGBC is proud to support Chevrolet in this groundbreaking program that provides funding to campuses for reducing their greenhouse gases.”
Chevrolet Taking the Lead in CSR
All across the country, Chevrolet is investing in community-based carbon reduction projects. Taking a leading position in corporate social responsibility (CSR), the certified carbon credits purchased from institutions such as Spelman are not being used to offset emissions related to specific Chevrolet operations or products – or those at any other site. Chevrolet buys the credits and then retires them.
David Tulauskas, General Motors director of sustainability, says “Our Chevrolet carbon-reduction initiative reflects our commitment to do more than just manufacture efficient vehicles in a responsible way. We want to support the ingenious efforts of colleges such as Spelman that are leading the clean-energy movement and engaging students along the way.”
Sustainable Spelman Interns are Very Engaging
Spelman students are engaged from their first year, all the way through to graduation. Aiding the College to go green, first-year students learn about the College’s sustainability legacy and current projects during student orientation. Through a series of First-Year Experience Sustainability Convocations, students are taught how to “practice sustainability as a way of life.” Sustainable Spelman interns manage the College’s sustainability social media portals, and promote campus sustainability issues by conducting workshops and performing commuter surveys.