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
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
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
“For example,” he said, “one of the things we commit ourselves
to is, within one year, to complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse
For more information on the Presidents Climate Commitment, go to