University president signs climate commitment to phase out carbon dioxide emissions

Xavier one of more than 470 schools to sign | February 11, 2008

University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. By signing the agreement, Graham joins more than 470 other college and university presidents who have pledged to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases due to campus operations.  

Those signing the agreement will work to become “climate neutral” by developing a long-range plan to phase out carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases. These gases are generated by burning fossil fuels for transportation, heat and energy.

“As a Catholic, Jesuit University, it is Xavier’s responsibility to undertake issues, which have an impact not only on our campus, but on all of today’s society,” Graham says.                          

There is no deadline for realizing climate neutrality, rather the commitment sets interim goals to meet along the way. For example: complete an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions by September 2008; and, one year later, create a detailed plan for reaching climate neutrality.

An oversight committee will be appointed to manage the implementation of the agreement at Xavier. The committee will be made up of faculty, staff and administration.

“The committee’s work will build on what Xavier has already done over the past few years to reduce energy consumption,” says Graham.

Some of the initiatives already in place at Xavier include using fluorescent light bulbs rated at 15,000 hours that use 75 percent less electricity than traditional models; systems that turn off lights when no one is around; heating and cooling fans programmed to throttle back at night; efforts to encourage students to bring in only energy-efficient appliances to their dorms; purchasing only energy-efficient equipment; installing energy-efficient washers in dormitories; placing sensing valves in restroom sinks to conserve water; and buying small vehicles for University use, then combining trips to save even more fuel.

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