Central College has joined with 35 colleges and universities across America to respond to the challenges of climate change and work to ensure greater community resilience. Central College President Mark Putnam recently signed the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC) statement of purpose, an initiative of nonprofit Second Nature.
“Climate change is a matter of importance for all of us,” Putnam said, “but colleges play a unique role in preparing students to think about how we foster resilient communities.”
According to Second Nature, becoming resilient requires that communities be ready to adapt to uncertain climate changes. The ARC statement urges higher education institutions to partner with their communities for greater sustainability and consider “changes in building and infrastructure development, energy and land management, food sources and water supply.”
Jim Zaffiro, professor of political science and coordinator of sustainability education, said this agreement marks another level of commitment for the college. “I’m thrilled that Central has joined this initiative,” Zaffiro said. “It should prompt our entire community to ask, ‘How can we be resilient?’”
For more than a decade, Central has been recognized as a leader for sustainability in Iowa and the Midwest. The college received Iowa’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in 2003 for its renovation of the Vermeer Science Center, and in 2010, the Roe Center won the highest level of LEED certification. Central is also one of the few U.S. colleges and universities that make global sustainability part of the core curriculum for all majors.
This year, Central will continue to embrace sustainability initiatives across campus, from energy-efficient vehicles and buildings to recycling, water conservation and renewable energy.
“Our long history in sustainability education makes our leadership and involvement critically important to this region and our nation,” Putnam said.