Our History

A Commitment to Sustainability

THE PRESIDENTS' CLIMATE COMMITMENT

Penn President Amy Gutmann was the first Ivy League President to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Over 600 colleges and universities have joined President Gutmann in this commitment, and these institutions are leading the way in addressing the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase research and education at places of higher learning in order to curb the earth's rapidly changing climate. As part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, in September 2008, Penn's Greenhouse Gas emissions were made publicly available on the ACUPCC website. To learn more about the commitment, visit the ACUPCC website.

About the Green Campus Partnership

CREATING THE PARTNERSHIP

The Green Campus Partnership is the umbrella organization that was formed in 2007 to address environmental sustainability planning and policy development at the University of Pennsylvania and to coordinate programs and initiatives for a more sustainable campus.

The Green Campus Partnership includes Facilities and Real Estate Services, Business Services, the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) as well as faculty and student groups, including the Penn Environmental Group (PEG).

EXPANDING THE PARTNERSHIP

President Amy Gutmann's signing of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment charged Penn to develop a strategic plan outlining the University’s goals for carbon reduction. To carry out this mission the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) was formed.

ESAC is a cross-campus collaboration that includes a representative group of faculty, staff, and students who advise the President on environmental sustainability issues. ESAC subcommittees developed recommendations for short- and long-term actions to address the Commitment’s requirements. These recommendations were reviewed by the members of ESAC and now serve as the backbone of Penn’s Climate Action Plan.

Learn more about the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC).

The Climate Action Plan

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

On September 15, 2009, the University unveiled its Climate Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy to address the significant reduction of the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions. Fulfilling the Climate Action Plan requires the power of this partnership to build a culture of sustainability and shared responsibility between the institution and the individual to reduce Penn’s carbon footprint.

As the Plan is implemented, the Penn community will gain new skills, knowledge, and appreciation for the value of a sustainable campus. Energy will be conserved, recycling expanded, emissions from commuting and air travel reduced, and buildings constructed and rehabilitated using today’s best practices in sustainability.

The University of Pennsylvania will foster a culture of environmental engagement, integrating sustainability into its ongoing mission of teaching, research, and service well into the future.

Click here to read Penn's Climate Action Plan.

Climate Action Plan 2.0 -- 2019 and Beyond

In the Spring of 2014, the ESAC Subcommittees and Penn's Sustainability Office are busy assembling draft recommendations for a Climate Action Plan 2.0, Penn's roadmap for environmental improvement on campus to 2019, and beyond.

 

Penn's Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee is a cross-campus collaboration that includes a representative group of faculty, staff, and students who advise the President on environmental sustainability issues.

Fact

Over sixty Penn staff members have received education in LEED 2009 standards.