In 2016 Vassar committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, and we are proud to already be more than halfway to achieving that goal—reducing our carbon footprint from 30,550 metric tons (mTons) of greenhouse gas in 2005 to just 15,000 mTons in 2021. We continue to work towards our long-term target of sequestering more carbon than we emit, becoming Climate Positive.
Vassar’s Climate Action Plan touches on all aspects of Vassar’s operations, from how the College designs its new buildings to how it treats its natural areas. With much of the work already underway, the following are just a few examples of our efforts in action:
- Vassar has invested almost $13 million in its Near-Term Decarbonization Plan, sharply decreasing our carbon footprint by 2023.
- As of July 1, 2021, all of Vassar’s purchased electricity is 100% renewable.
- All new building projects will use fully electric heating and cooling systems, with no reliance on fossil fuels or combustion. This includes the Vassar Institute for the Liberal Arts, as well as the planned Admission and Career Education Center.
- Sustainability is entwined within the student experience, with local and sustainably grown food served at campus dining facilities; free bus passes provided for all students to ride Dutchess County Public Transit; student clubs and volunteer programs; and many other efforts.
- Reducing Vassar’s combustion-based heating by over 60,000 MMBtu
- Converting two of Vassar’s central boilers from natural gas as a feedstock to renewable fuel oil (RFO), a bio-fuel derived from sawdust and tree trimmings from sustainable timber operations
- Reducing Vassar’s waste sent to the landfill by over 300 tons
- Developing Restorative Land Management Guidelines for over 750 acres of the Vassar campus
While we consider the world’s most critical challenges, we also believe in practical application—and it is our responsibility, as global citizens, to make every effort and take every opportunity to effect change. At Vassar, we will continue to push ourselves, to dig deep, and use our collective creativity to be a part of the solution.