Campus Named a Finalist for Climate Leadership Award

Second Nature, the supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), this week named UMass Amherst a finalist in its national 2014 Climate Leadership Awards, an annual competition among U.S. colleges and university signatories of the ACUPCC.

The award is co-sponsored by Second Nature, a national nonprofit that seeks to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education, and Planet Forward, an organization that engages innovators and publishes compelling ideas for some of society’s biggest challenges.

Saluting UMass Amherst’s award-winning efforts in green research, education and operations, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “Sustainability is a core value of this institution. Our exemplary leadership in sustainability provides a model for universities across the country.”

Three other finalist institutions in the same category as UMass Amherst are Western Michigan University, the University of North Texas and the Ohio State University. The award involves a public, online voting component during Earth Month in April. Each finalist institution will be invited to produce a video that promotes its specific sustainability efforts. Planet Forward’s web-to-television initiative, which documents and shares energy, climate and sustainability advances, will host the public voting while featuring the finalists’ climate leadership and campus innovations videos.

The Second Nature board of directors will choose winners in late spring. Approximately 50,000 votes were cast during last year’s voting, the organization notes, and this fifth year of the competition drew the largest and most competitive pool of nominations to date.

President David Hales of Second Nature said, “The impacts of climate change are being felt at all scales and among all people across the United States and the world, and our colleges and universities are clearly at the forefront of identifying solutions, and providing the next generation of responsible and pioneering leaders. This year we are seeing the most innovative and exciting projects yet, and we are thrilled to be able to recognize these institutions and their work.”

ACUPCC is a partnership among approximately 680 colleges and universities across the country that have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare students through research and education to solve the challenge of the 21st century.