Green Mountain College is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a national organization that challenges presidents to pledge that their institutions will be responsible for reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than they are emitting. GMC has been a signatory since 2007 and became only the second college in the country to achieve neutrality in 2011 after reducing on-site emissions by 30%.
This year, the College is due for a carbon inventory and at that time, any emissions that were not reduced over the last two years should be covered by offsets that result in emissions reductions somewhere else. Picking a carbon offset provider has been a year-long process, involving over 50 students from five different classes, including Teresa Coker’s Voices, Sarah Mittlefehldt’s Forest Policy and Management, Sam Edwards’ Environmental Senior Seminar, Steve Letendre’s Renewable Energy and Society, and Bill Throop’s Delicate Balance. Students researched over six options, and the Sustainability Office narrowed the list to three which had the most student support. Brooke Hallock ’16 and Peyton Jones ’15 led the effort to verify project alignment with ACUPCC.
The three finalists were provided to Teresa Coker’s Voices class early this spring, and the class designed and implemented an educational vetting process aimed at ranking the three choices. 169 people voted and the results favored Native Energy’s landfill gas project in upstate New York, followed by CO2 Balance’s stove project in Kenya. Third place went to the Conservation Fund’s forest sequestration project in California.
The Campus Sustainability Council voted to endorse the top choice, Native Energy. The CSC’s recommendation will be passed to Cabinet, which will have final say over the purchase. The top two reasons respondents chose Native Energy were location and method.