KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University is a founding member of a nationwide network of colleges and universities making a commitment to lead the nation's response to many of the challenges triggered by changing global weather patterns.
The Alliance for Resilient Campuses was announced May 5 as the nation was preparing to see the comprehensive climate change data unveiled with the May 6 release of the National Climate Assessment. The leaders of 30 campuses around the nation are founding signatories to the alliance. They include WMU's President John M. Dunn. The new initiative is organized by Second Nature, a leading U.S. presence in higher education sustainability.
Purpose of the alliance
According to a statement of purpose by the 30 founding signatories, the presidents and chancellors "recognize that current and expected changes in the global climate are an increasing threat to our institutions, our students and our communities...we recognize that being adaptive and resilient to climate change must now become an embedded component of our strategic planning, our risk management strategy, our responsibility to prepare students for their lives and careers, and our commitment to create and share knowledge."
"The information being shared about climate change makes it very clear that we're no longer talking only about the need for prevention or mitigation," says WMU's Dunn. "As institutions of higher education, our responsibility is to play a leadership role in identifying the best and strongest responses to the changes we're already beginning to see."
- To assess and understand climate impact in their individual regions.
- To adapt by using changes to building and infrastructure development, energy and land management, food sources and water supply, transportation and community partnerships.
- To accelerate climate and sustainability education and research.
- To share and coordinate response strategies with other campuses and communities.
About Second Nature
Second Nature is the support organization of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, an intensive partnership among more than 680 higher education institutions committed to carbon neutrality. ACUPCC institutions work to accelerate education, research, and community engagement to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate while setting an example by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. WMU is a signatory to the climate commitment, and Dunn serves as a member of the ACUPCC Steering Committee.
For more information about the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, visit secondnature.org/news.