Villanova Submits Formal Plan to Achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050

Plan highlights approach to offsetting emissions and strengthening research and education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2010

VILLANOVA, Pa., – Villanova University, which became a signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, has submitted its formal Climate Action Plan (CAP) to the ACUPCC. The Villanova CAP—which is publicly available, along with the Villanova Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report—sets forth the year 2050 as the university’s target date for net climate neutrality.

The 120-page CAP highlights Villanova’s approach to offsetting carbon emissions and accelerating research to help protect and re-stabilize the earth’s climate. It further describes Villanova’s Campus Emissions and plans of action across four categories: Mitigation Strategies; Educational, Research, and Community Outreach Efforts; Financing; and Tracking Progress. Villanova has also made an executive summary of the CAP available on its Web site.

The University’s 32nd president and ACUPCC signatory, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., emphasizes the link between Villanova’s Catholic mission and the environment. “As an academic community, we understand the danger of ignoring the needs of our planet, and we recognize that all life forms on earth inherently deserve our respect,” says President Donohue. Further, he explains that sustainability encompasses issues including social justice, poverty and global health. “All human beings depend upon the stability of our environment, and we are therefore dedicated to addressing the climate crisis in every way we can.” To develop and implement the CAP and environmental initiatives campus-wide, President Donohue established the President’s Environmental Sustainability Committee.

Villanova’s intellectual leadership in the area of sustainability is a core component of the CAP. The University plans to build upon its existing strength in this area to expand research funding, academic programs and service-learning opportunities. The CAP also outlines Villanova’s strategies to reduce campus emissions through conservation and reducing consumption, changes to its physical facilities (including its cooler plant, boiler plant and heating infrastructure) and exploration of installing solar panels on campus. Lastly, the CAP provides a timeline for the achievement of Villanova’s goals.

The University will regularly report on its progress and track its greenhouse gas emissions. It will also conduct regular reviews of the CAP to evaluate progress and verify that previous assumptions remain valid—especially those that may be affected by changes in technology and in energy and environmental markets.

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova’s faculty experts in the field of environmental sustainability provide academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Villanova’s new College of Nursing building is LEED Gold Certified. The University is currently pursuing LEED Certification for its recently-constructed Law School building and LEED-EB Certification for its recently-renovated residence hall: Fedigan Hall—Villanova’s first “green dorm.”