Staffer hired, climate plan progresses

GW’s Office of Sustainability has teamed up with students, administrators and staff to draft the University’s Climate Action Plan and has hired a new staff member to keep the plan on deadline, a University administrator said this week.

Meghan Chapple-Brown, director of the Office of Sustainability, said teams of GW students, administrators and staff have been created, each of which will focus on three separate areas of the plan.

Due May 15, the Climate Action Plan will outline how to reduce GW’s emissions and make the University carbon neutral. University President Steven Knapp announced in 2008 that the University will complete the plan as part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

“Meeting this deadline requires a coordinated effort from many individuals and functions across the University community,” said Cristina Luthy, who joined the office in November as the CAP project facilitator. “I will help the CAP process stick to its deadline by synchronizing this effort across the implementation teams, identifying synergies across the teams, and providing the teams with information and strategies to consider with their plans.”

The University hosted an event Friday to invite community members to submit proposals on how GW can reduce energy use. A range of ideas were suggested, from making Foggy Bottom more friendly to bikers, to cement that generates electricity when stepped on.

Chapple-Brown said there will be three separate groups with different goals related to the CAP.

The “advisory” group, made up of student leaders, will serve as an outreach arm, both advising GW students about the CAP’s progress and helping execute “behavior-changing initiatives campus-wide,” Chapple-Brown said.

Chapple-Brown said CAP implementation teams will be responsible for finding places to reduce GW’s carbon emissions in five separate areas – energy, transportation, communications, offsets and academics – and will be made up of administrators and staff.

The CAP implementation teams will report their ideas to the Sustainability Leadership Council, which is made up of University vice presidents and will ultimately approve the finalized plan.

“The engagement structure is designed to capture innovative ideas from across the University and will incorporate GW students, faculty and staff,” Chapple-Brown said.

To ensure the plan makes its May 15 deadline, Luthy said she will establish interim milestones.

Although Luthy was hired to oversee the CAP, she will stay on the Office of Sustainability’s staff after the plan is completed to work on future projects, Chapple-Brown said.

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