Dear colleagues and friends,
This year’s Undergraduate Symposium coincides with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a fitting complement to the extraordinary research being conducted by our faculty and students.
Northern Arizona University is a leader in climate change research and curriculum, with a new School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability that brings together a large number of environment-focused programs and faculty, the Ecological Restoration Institute that has a long and well-respected history of fighting for forest health, and numerous faculty members engaged in climate change research and solutions for alternative energy.
And through collaborative efforts throughout campus Northern Arizona University is doing its part to build a sustainable campus.
Only last week did we receive word that the building housing Extended Campuses received a “Gold” from the Leadership Energy and Environment Design building rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the fourth NAU building to receive a LEED rating, including a “Platinum” rating making Applied Research and Development building one of the greenest in the world. Princeton Review calls NAU a “green building superstar.”
We also are close to surpassing former Gov. Janet Napolitano’s directive to reduce energy use by 15 percent per square foot by July 2011. Creating a sustainable campus has been a part of our strategic plan for several years, and we continue to work toward a carbon-neutral campus by 2020.
In January of 2007, I joined the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which was created as an avenue for university leaders to define and address the challenges of climate change. It further solidified the commitment the institution has in facing real challenges of the 21st century As I’ve said before, stewardship of place is not a new concept for Northern Arizona University, and sustainability and protecting our planet will remain deeply embedded in our culture.