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SMC Signs Climate Pact

By Lookout Staff

February 4 -- Santa Monica College last week became one of the few colleges and universities statewide to sign a pledge to fight global warming.

By signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment Thursday, President Dr. Chui L. Tsang committed the college to “achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.”

“I join approximately 500 other college and university presidents nationwide in committing our institutions to a vigorous effort to reduce greenhouse gases and to become ‘climate neutral’ as soon as possible,” Tsang said.

The announcement came at the opening session of the SMC Focus the Nation Teach-In on global warming solutions, which was held at more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

SMC is just one of a handful of community colleges statewide that have signed on to the groundbreaking accord, college officials said. To date, the leaders of 482 of the country’s more than 4,000 colleges and universities have signed the agreement.

“We are proud of our strong commitment to the environment,” Tsang said. “We are getting greener every semester. But this is not enough.”

Tsang pointed to several major sustainable initiatives recently implemented at SMC, including a plan to provide free bus service for SMC students and employees.

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus officials estimate that the ambitious transportation initiative, which is in large part subsidized by the college, has reduced vehicle trips to the campus by an estimated 6,000 a day.

Tsang also noted that SMC is ranked first among community colleges statewide in its solid waste recycling (89 percent of its waste is recycled) and its U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification on several construction projects.

He also pointed to the college’s environmental curriculum that cuts across disciplines and its installation of storm water retention systems in locations on the main and satellite campuses.

In addition, Tsang noted that the college recently hired a sustainability coordinator to help implement a comprehensive environmental audit that was released in 2007.

“Today’s action is not just symbolic,” Tsang said. “It holds Santa Monica College to an action plan with measurable outcomes. In other words, we have to demonstrate that we’ve put our green spirit where our mouth is.

“For example,” he said, “one of the things we commit ourselves to is, within one year, to complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more information on the Presidents Climate Commitment, go to http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

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“Today’s action is not just symbolic. It holds Santa Monica College to an action plan with measurable outcomes." Chui Tsang




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