In the fall of 2006, the Environmental Impact and Sustainability Task Force, comprised of faculty, students and staff from across departments and divisions at the college, was formed at SUNY Geneseo to implement strategies to reduce the College’s environmental impact. On June 26, 2007, President Christopher Dahl signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) which committed the College to calculating the College’s greenhouse gas footprint, setting a date for carbon neutrality and establishing an action plan for achieving that goal. In addition, the ACUPCC also committed the college to initiating at least two specific tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before the submission of the action plan. Geneseo fulfilled this part of the commitment by establishing a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard. In addition, the College has an appliance purchasing policy that requires the purchase of Energy Star certified products for all areas where these ratings exist, and has increased access to public transportation (through the LATS bus system) for the campus and wider community.
Beginning in 2008, the Task Force student intern, Alicia Kowsky, along with members of the climate impact and monitoring subcommittee conducted a baseline greenhouse gas inventory for the College. This inventory was completed by our summer 2009 student intern, Hallie Miller, to include comprehensive information on the College’s electricity, natural gas, transportation, solid waste, and wastewater contributions to greenhouse gas outputs from 1990-2009. This important information is critical for establishing a picture of the College’s current and historical greenhouse gas footprint, and as basis for predicting future trends in our greenhouse gas emissions.
The Climate Action Plan for SUNY Geneseo makes clear the actions that have already been taken to increase energy efficiency on campus, identifies new projects to reduce or offset our energy usage, and sets a timeline for climate neutrality with interim goals. The ultimate goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 with less than 20 percent of the reduction at that time through purchased, off-site carbon credits.
In 2012, the task force was designated as a Presidential Commission by President Christopher C. Dahl.