Zoë Tice Adams
Colby-Sawyer became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, setting it on a trajectory to carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2010, the board of trustees ratified the GreenROUTES Climate Action Plan for Colby-Sawyer, and by 2015 the college had already achieved a 50% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. A decade later in 2017, after infusing whole systems sustainability into many of its policies and operations, the college became the 100th institution to sign Second Nature’s broadened Climate Commitment, prompting it to generate an addendum to its original climate action plan.
The 2019 Blueprint for Resilience and Innovation: Laying the Foundation for Personal Wellbeing, Social Justice, Financial Stability, and Ecological Balance at Colby-Sawyer College is a living document developed with support from college administration, faculty, staff, students, regional experts and community partners. The Blueprint expands the college’s focus beyond mitigating climate change through reductions in carbon emissions on campus, to also include community resilience components that promote regional capacity building and collaborative adaptation in response to the present and burgeoning climate crisis.
The sustainability initiatives and resilience strategies outlined within the Blueprint align with the mission, vision, commitments, values, and goals of the Colby-Sawyer College Strategic Plan (2018-2023). Achieving the ends and outcomes in one plan requires the means and methods of the other. The actions enable the college to keep its promise to students for a personalized and holistic learning experience and transformative education that is rooted in a deep and enduring sense of place.