President Wiewel to Attend Climate Leadership Summit
by Emily Price BA ’18
In celebration of Lewis & Clark’s longstanding commitment to environmental awareness, President Wim Wiewel has been invited to the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, which will take place next February. The event is organized and hosted by Second Nature, which established the Climate Leadership Network to promote responsible environmental initiatives among colleges and universities.
Invitations to this summit are extended only to leaders of institutions that have earned Second Nature’s Marks of Distinction, an accolade based on a number of performance indicators related to environmental mindfulness and a capacity for change. They include a willingness to set ambitious goals for improvement in the areas of environmental health, participation in specific initiatives designed to make the campus more sustainable, and demonstrated progress toward having a significant positive environmental impact.
Lewis & Clark earned entry due to the college’s efforts to increase environmental awareness and promote climate action among students, faculty, staff, and the wider Portland community. The institution, which frequently appears on lists like the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and the Sierra Club list of “Cool Schools,” recently made the decision to divest from fossil fuels.
It has also installed charging stations throughout campus to promote the use of electric cars, and explored using renewable energy in many of its buildings. And just this month, in an effort to eliminate waste and reduce reliance on products containing fossil fuels, Lewis & Clark developed a campus-wide policy to reduce single-use plastic. These efforts have often been led by or in tandem with students, as with the Environmental Affairs Symposium (now in its 20th year) in which students plan panels, invite speakers, and present original research about topics related to the environment.
According to President Wiewel, such on-campus involvement is a vital part of Lewis & Clark’s status as an environmental leader.
“When national politics are aggressively undermining U.S. commitments to fight climate change, it is up to local jurisdictions and institutions like ours to lead,” Wiewel said. “We are privileged to have a unique and important opportunity to educate our future leaders on climate issues while they are on our campus.”