Colby-Sawyer College Selected as Host for Inaugural Cohort of Campus Climate Action Corps

Colby-Sawyer College has been selected as a host site for the Campus Climate Action Corps (CCAC) project. Through this program, four Americorps members, called “Climate Action Energizers,” devote 300 hours to community engagement efforts and the design of community-based solutions to environmental issues. These part-time positions will be offered to current Colby-Sawyer students and will be coordinated by one full-time Americorps member, all of whom will be under the supervision of a host site supervisor. This role will be shared by Zoë Adams, sustainability coordinator, and Katherine Burt, community engaged learning coordinator.

“Being able to bring a program like CCAC to Colby-Sawyer is huge,” Burt said. “It is giving our students the opportunity to get out into the community and create real change. It is also a national program, and that fact the Colby-Sawyer is part of the inaugural cohort is amazing.”

The work of these Americorps members will center around four primary themes: community education and public awareness, ecosystem health, home energy efficiency and "green jobs,” and is set to launch in January 2024.

One example of the type of work that the students will complete to fulfill their 300-hour service commitment is the Window Dressers program, an initiative that provides window inserts for local residents to improve their household insulation during the winter. Adams was introduced to Window Dressers by Kearsarge Climate Action, a group with a strong historical relationship of cooperation with Colby-Sawyer College. Other projects will be defined at a later point, with the input of the full-time staff member. It is Adams’s hope that Kearsarge Climate Action will also assist in identifying and developing useful service projects for the CCAC students.

"CCAC will give our students the capacity to directly apply their coursework to real-world situations and see firsthand how their education can be used to benefit their communities,” Adams said. "I am looking forward to seeing the work our students will do to identify and implement effective solutions for local challenges associated with climate change."

CCAC is an initiative headed by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact states that its mission is to build democracy through civic engagement and community development. According to the organization, the goal of this project is “to build the capacity of campuses and their community partners to create change that leads to increased energy efficiency and improvements for at-risk ecosystems by implementing local solutions for underserved households and communities.”