The 2020 Climate Action Plan

In October 2019, the Vassar College Board of Trustees declared their support for a $13 million energy efficiency project, detailed below. One year later, Vassar's Climate Action & Sustainability Committee (CASC) finalized the 2020 Climate Action Plan (CAP). This plan outlines an ambitious but achievable set of goals actions to bring Vassar even closer to its climate-positive future. The Full Climate Action Plan can be downloaded here (PDF).

Over 200 students, faculty, staff, and administrators contributed their voice to the Climate Action Plan. The recommendations in the CAP touch on all aspects of Vassar's operations, from how the College heats its buildings to how it treats its natural areas. Specific goals for Vassar included in the Climate Action Plan include:

  • A 40% reduction in combustion-based heating
  • A 25% reduction in waste sent to the landfill
  • A 20% reduction in emissions from campus fleet vehicles
  • Over 750 acres covered by Restorative Land Management Guidelines

Ultimately, implementing the Climate Action Plan will reduce Vassar's carbon footprint by another 2,050 metric tons above and beyond the 10,200 reduced by the energy efficiency improvements already underway. By 2025, Vassar will emit less than 5,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas - less than a sixth of its 2005 baseline emissions. It also lays the foundation for Vassar to ultimately sequester more carbon than it emits, going beyond carbon-neutral to become climate-positive. Vassar's sustainability journey is illustrated below:

Carbon Neutral by 2030 (greenhouse gases in metric tons): 30,550 (2005); -13,500 (2020); -12,250 (2025); -4,800 (2030) = 0 and beyond
Carbon Neutral by 2030 (greenhouse gases in metric tons): 30,550 (2005); -13,500 (2020); -12,250 (2025); -4,800 (2030) = 0 and beyond

For transparency and accountability, the Office of Sustainability has launched a dashboard to allow for ongoing tracking of progress toward all the goals and action steps outlined in the full Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan Dashboard can be found here.

For questions related to the 2020 Climate Action Plan, please contact Assistant Dean for Strategic Planning Cora Kenfield at mkenfield@vassar.edu.

Further Information

Full text of the Climate Action Plan (PDF)

The Climate Action Plan Dashboard