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Pomona College Adopts New Environmental Policy

The Board of Trustees approved a new Environmental Policy last month, marking the first update to the policy since it was first developed in 2003.

"Much has changed in the six years since Pomona first adopted an environmental policy,” says President David W. Oxtoby. “Energy and resource conservation have been broadened to include the full environmental footprint of all of the activities of the College, and processes have been put in place to monitor our performance in a critical fashion and to begin to reach benchmark goals. This policy has emerged from discussions with the full community, and sets us on a path toward a leadership position nationally in issues of sustainability."

The new policy consists of two sections: Sustainability values and policy implementation. Eleven values are recognized as “central values of the College that pertain to sustainability and environmental impact,” including leadership, education, conservation, solutions-based progress, stewardship, community, economic responsibility, and social justice.

“This updated policy not only reiterates our commitment and why this issue is important to the College, but also puts in place some frameworks for decision-making in key areas of College operations: planning, maintenance and construction; financial and budgetary planning; and education and research,” says Bowen Patterson ’06, director of the newly named Sustainability Integration Office.

“This policy requires that sustainability be taken into consideration from day one of any construction project. It also formally states, for the first time ever, that cost-saving sustainability measures will be considered appropriate investments of College funds. While this may sound straightforward, it represents somewhat of a shift in thinking about upfront versus long-term costs and savings of projects such as retrofits and upgrades.”

Other highlights from the implementation section of the Environmental Policy include a commitment to sustainability-related education, and the development of a standing Sustainability Committee charged with charged with working with the Sustainability Integration Office to generate, administer and monitor an implementation framework for this policy.

As a next step, the Sustainability Integration Office and this committee will spend the next year continuing to work on the College’s Sustainability Action Plan, which will determine sustainability goals (e.g., a certain percentage reduction in waste by 2015) and identify priority strategies for moving forward. This long-term plan will address a wide variety of issues including water use, energy use, renewable energy sources, food and agriculture, waste generation and transportation.

To read the new Environmental Policy and learn more about sustainability efforts on campus, visit the Sustainability Integration Office’s Web site.