Welcoming the Class of Carbon Neutrality

To the Class of 2019,

In 2011, Colgate published the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, a step-by-step strategy to help Colgate achieve carbon neutrality by 2019. The Plan’s mission statement is “to promote educational opportunities, foster partnerships, provide leadership…to advance environmental stewardship…at Colgate University”. As the Class of 2019 – the Class of Carbon Neutrality – there is an innate responsibility to act as environmental stewards. Depending on your background, sustainability may be a foreign and daunting concept, but it does not have to be.  

First-year students are often living away from home for the first time when they enter college. We’ve all been there – you’re trying to figure out your new day-to-day routine while juggling a totally brand new environment. But infusing sustainability into everyday behaviors doesn’t have to be an added burden to figuring out how to navigate college. 

Simple actions like using a reusable water bottle, printing double-sided, recycling and participating in Meatless Mondays can all add up and serve as model actions for your peers.

However, as the class of carbon neutrality, I encourage you to engage with sustainability at a deeper level this year and continue to do so during your time at Colgate. Attend the annual Green Summit, join and actively engage with a green club on campus, become green certified through the Office of Sustainability, get involved in Student Government and help promote sustainable initiatives or participate in the Office of Sustainability’s new Green Ambassadors program.

The Green Ambassadors program was introduced by the Office of Sustainability this summer and is designed for selected first-years to educate and promote sustainability among their peers within their residence halls. Planned activities include filming of a viral video, a recyclable fashion show and a local food cook-off. 

Beyond extracurricular activities, there are a number of sustainability-related courses offered at Colgate each semester, ranging from the Environmental Studies department to the History department to the Peace and Conflict Studies department. Understanding the ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainability are not only enlightening academically, but are also issues that we’re going to be faced with in our lifetimes. Engaging in sustainability now, as undergraduates, will only better prepare us for the world after graduation.