SRU earns “Mark of Distinction” for climate leadership


Old Main in spring

April 30, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has earned a "Mark of Distinction" from Second Nature for setting and demonstrating high-performance climate change goals in its move toward carbon neutrality.

SRU is one of only 175 diverse institutions in 39 states receiving marks in 15 categories including carbon neutrality and use of renewable energy.

"SRU has been rigorously implementing our Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality - to no longer add greenhouse gases to our atmosphere - by the year 2037," said Paul Scanlon, SRU director of sustainability. "To make sure we're meeting our intermediate goals, we track our emissions each year and publish the results on Second Nature's carbon calculator and reporting platform.

Paul Scalon


"The recent guaranteed energy savings agreement implemented by the University is a huge step that will not only drop us below 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, but will avoid dumping 800,000 tons of it into the atmosphere during the next 20 years."

"Recognizing the progress of these select institutions, such as SRU, will inspire further action as they lead by example in their communities and for their students," said Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature. "We commend the achievements and celebrate the hard work of many individuals who contribute to our shared goals."

SRU is one of more than 500 institutions across the country that signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment through Second Nature's Climate Leadership Network in 2007. The CLN is an initiative that recognizes a select group of signatories that set high-performance goals, demonstrate and report measurable progress towards those goals, and support Network activities.

"For years' signatory institutions have shared their knowledge by developing climate action plans and submitting annual progress evaluations," said Carter. "Until now, this information has never been used to recognize the accomplishments of individual schools. The Marks of Distinction recognize schools according to key performance indicators that demonstrate climate leadership."

The recognition continues a string of "green" accolades for SRU, including having been ranked among the world's most environmentally friendly colleges and universities by the University of Indonesia's GreenMetric World University Rankings. SRU was ranked 20th in the United States and 142nd in the world.

The Princeton Review named SRU as one of the 375 most environmentally responsible colleges in the country in its 2017 "Guide to 375 Green Colleges"; while the Sierra Club acknowledged the University's efforts and again named SRU to the club's "Cool Schools" list.

Second Nature is a nonprofit agency focused on accelerating climate action in and through the higher education sector by "mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives and to create innovative climate solutions."

The Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments are a signature program of Second Nature and include a "Carbon Commitment" to become carbon neutral, a "Resilience Commitment," which focuses on climate adaptation and building community capacity, and a "Climate Commitment" that integrates both.

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