American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

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The American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is a “high-visibility effort” to address global warming (global climate disruption) by creating a network of colleges and universities that have committed to neutralize their greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.[1]

Second Nature is the main supporting organization of the ACUPCC.

Definition of sustainable development[edit]

The commonly accepted definition of sustainable development is defined as, “development that meets the needs of the present with- out compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” [2]

However, as pointed out by Lander Medlin, APPA’s executive vice president, “sustainability is not just about protecting the environment—it is also about finding ways to meet the basic needs of all current and future generations of humans.” The ACUPCC seeks to encourage higher education institutions to give their students tools to think with a sustainable perspective for the future.[3]


The ACUPCC seeks to create connections with higher educational institutions in order to carry out two goals: The first is to make an agreement with these colleges and universities that they will commit to eliminate their net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations.

The second focuses on education and the institutions’ ability to promote research of sustainability programs and empower the "higher education sector to educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society." [4]

ACUPCC provides “a framework and support” for America’s colleges and universities. The ACUPCC relies on institutions of higher education to be role models for their communities as well as students, and to educate people who will contribute to fighting to reverse global warming and create a sustainable society.[5]

ACUPCC agreement[edit]

ACUPCC institutions have agreed to:[6]

  • Complete an emissions inventory.
  • Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
  • Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
  • Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
  • Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.


In October, 2006, planning sessions were held at Arizona State University with the twelve founding signatory Presidents, Second Nature, ecoAmerica, and AASHE. ACUPCC was launched in December 2006, when the founding Presidents sent a letter to nearly 400 of their peers to invite them to join in the initiate. In June 2007, with a signatory group of 284, The ACUPCC was launched to the public at the first Climate Leadership Summit.[7]

12 founding signatories[edit]

  • Loren Anderson, president, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University
  • Nancy Dye, president, Oberlin College
  • Jo Ann Gora, president, Ball State University
  • David Hales, president, College of the Atlantic
  • Bernard Machen, president, University of Florida
  • Gifford Pinchot III, president, Bainbridge Graduate Institute
  • Kathleen Schatzberg, president, Cape Cod Community College
  • Mary Spilde, president, Lane Community College
  • Douglas Treadway, president, Ohlone College
  • Darroch Young, chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District
  • Paul Zingg, president, California State University, Chico [8]

Current signatories[edit]

By 2010 there were 697 universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, representing a student population of over 5.6 million as signatories under the ACUPCC.[9] Complete list of signatories.

External links[edit]


  1. ^
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  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  9. ^ "title?". January 28, 2010.