Linfield strives for climate neutrality on campus

On April 22, 2008, President Thomas L. Hellie signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment, setting a goal to one day achieve climate neutrality for Linfield College.

The ACUPCC provides a framework for colleges and universities around the country to become climate neutral and advance education for sustainability.

By signing to the ACUPCC, President Hellie has committed to eliminate operational greenhouse gas emissions, provide the education, research, and community engagement to enable the rest of society to do the same, and to publicly report progress on an annual basis.

Lewis & Clark, Willamette, the University of Portland, and Seattle Pacific University are several other colleges in the Pacific Northwest whom have also signed the commitment.

To analyze and record Linfield College’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a GHG Emissions report is written looking at an entire fiscal year.

The first GHG Emissions report Linfield produced was for the 2006-2007 fiscal year and then for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Currently, Duncan Reid and the Office of Sustainability staff are finishing up the report for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

While previously reported through Linfield’s Capital Planning & Development Department, Reid and his staff took on the commitment once he was hired in the spring of 2013.

Since the beginning of the spring semester in 2013, the Office of Sustainability has been working on a GHG Emissions report to submit to the ACUPCC by January 2014.

In order to calculate Linfield’s total GHG emissions, campus wide data is collected and broken down into several major categories.

The main contributors to Linfield’s GHG emissions include: natural gas, study abroad air travel, other travel (faculty reimbursement travel or athletic team travel), solid waste, fertilizers and chemicals.

While Linfield has quite a long path to reach climate neutrality, Linfield has reduced its carbon emissions by a whopping 44 percent since the 2009-2010 fiscal year report.

Duncan Reid is leading the march toward a sustainable Linfield, and with the assistance of his staff and groups like Greenfield and ACES (Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability), we are going in the right direction.

If you would like more information on Linfield’s GHG emission reports, the ACUPCC, or want to get involved in anyway, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our website.

To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Joey Gale / Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability can be reached at sustainability@linfield.edu