Local Impact, Institutional News, CAPA

“We Are Still In”

Bennington College President Mariko Silver recently joined mayors, governors, other leaders in higher education, businesses, and investors in declaring, via an open letter, that they will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

"Bennington's commitment to efficiency and sustainability is in our best interest as an institution, but is also an opportunity to model for our students how to move forward when faced with a complex problem, like climate change, that demands urgent action,” said President Silver. “The College will continue to make institutional choices to reduce carbon emissions, and we will continue to support students' engagement in real-world problems in the classroom and outside it."

Signatories include leaders from 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Participating cities and states represent 120 million Americans and contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy.

The letter noted that "nations - inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses - came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefit."

The letter concludes:

“Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”

See the full text and list of signatories.

Bennington students recently blended classroom experience and hands-on work via a partnership between the College and the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont, and the Village Trustees of North Bennington. Students in Susan Sgorbati’s Solving the Impossible course conducted research needed to help the Village Trustees switch streetlights in North Bennington to LEDs. The project was a success and after the LEDs were installed, the Village saved one-third in both energy use and cost. Carbon emissions were reduced by 60,000 pounds annually.

Watch: LED Street Light Project  

Additionally, this year students completed seven-week work experiences via Field Work Term placements at organizations such as:

  • Arnold Arboretum-Harvard - Boston, Massachusetts
  • Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association - Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Coalesce BioArt Lab at the University at Buffalo - Buffalo, New York
  • Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory - Otto, North Carolina
  • Department of Natural Resources - Olympia, Georgia
  • Environment Minnesota - Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Northeastern University Marine Science Center - Nahant, Massachusetts
  • Our Climate and VPIRG - Portland, Oregon
  • Recurrent Hydro - North Bennington, Vermont
  • Sierra Club - Oakland, California
  • Trust for Public Land - New York, New York

President Silver is the vice chair of the Climate Leadership Steering Committee, a group of leaders in higher education that seeks “to accelerate global climate action, rapidly reduce carbon pollution, and increase institutional and community resilience to climate hazards.”