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Penn's Climate Action Plan
September 29, 2009, Volume 56, No. 05

Excerpts of remarks by Anne Papageorge, Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services at the Climate Action Plan kick-off event.

There are opportunities in life when numerous pursuits—educational, professional and personal—converge. For me and many of my colleagues, the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee has been such an event. 

Today is the historic moment we have been working toward, the announcement of Penn’s Climate Action Plan.

Two years ago Penn took a giant institutional step forward when Dr. Gutmann publicly pledged to develop a strategy to reduce our carbon emissions and enhance our overall sustainability by September 2009.
That pledge was a serious commitment to meet.

I am proud to say that getting from the aspiration of the pledge, to the reality of the plan, was a fascinating and rewarding process, resulting in a new mindset about Penn’s role and responsibility to act as sustainably as possible.  

Taking this pledge sparked some action.

We created Penn’s first Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Position, to work across Penn and leverage all the excellent work being done and connect this work with the goals and objectives of our Climate Action Plan.

We formed the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, or ESAC, which brought together more than 40 faculty, students and staff to research and develop this plan. Six sub committees were formed.

Developing this plan was a true team effort and I would like to acknowledge some of my colleagues who lent their resources and commitment, including Bill Braham and Ali Makawi of the TC Chan Center in the School of Design, Marie Witt, Vice President of Business Services and her team, and all the individuals who chaired these committees.

One of the wonderful results of this process is that it brought together people from across the Penn community to collaborate across disciplines to meet this common purpose. 

The guiding principles of this plan focus our efforts in five areas:

1. Learn sustainability—by taking classes and participating in professional development.

2. Conserve Energy—by reducing our consumption by 5% this year, and by 17% in 2014.

3. Minimize Waste—by 2014, by recycling 40% of our waste, up from today’s 20%.

4. Design Green—by building a more sustainable urban campus through high performance buildings with green roofs and smart systems and expanded open space.

5. Reduce emission—by motivating half of Penn’s population to use public transit, car pooling, biking or walking in their commute, up from 40%.

It is an ambitious plan, but we are dedicated to implementing it with your help. Weaving all this together is leadership. We are most thankful to President Gutmann for leading us to this day.

Related: Climate Action Plan: Executive Summary; Acknowledgements; Message from President Amy Gutmann

Almanac - September 29, 2009, Volume 56, No. 05