Roth, center, signed a document Nov. 16 stating that he and Wesleyan will
support measures to fight global climate change. Pictured left to right are
Bill Nelligan, director of Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability;
Jacob Mirsky '08, representative of EON; Roth; Jim Dresser, chair of the
Wesleyan Board of Trustees; Matthew Ball '08, member of the Wesleyan Student
Roth Signs President Climate Commitment
President Michael Roth signed the American
College and University Presidents Climate Commitment before an applauding
crowd of several dozen Wesleyan students, staff, faculty and trustees on
The commitment can be seen in full text
here. It has been
signed by 434 other college and university presidents to date.
The impetus to sign the agreement was in part a result of efforts by the
Wesleyan environmentalist organization known as EON (Environmental
Organizers Group). Wesleyan’s student assembly also passed a measure in
support of Roth signing the document.
“We hoped that president Roth would listen to our plea,” said Jacob Mirsky
’08, an EON member who spoke at the signing. “By signing the commitment,
President Roth is ensuring Wesleyan’s institutional dedication to fight
global climate change.”
EON and others on campus raised awareness about the commitment in September.
After discussing the initiative with members of his administration, Roth
decided to add his signature, and Wesleyan’s commitment, to the pledge.
“I think it’s really important to make an institutional commitment to
improve our behavior as we deal with this crisis of climate change,” Roth
said. “We can’t cure the ills of the world, but we can take steps to do what
we can to make the world a better place.”
Roth pointed out that Wesleyan’s commitment to “green” initiatives has been
longstanding and expansive. A few of these measures include:
-- Between 2002
and 2006, Wesleyan reduced electrical power consumption, which constitutes
the greatest annual variable cost incurred by the university, from 4.5
megawatts to 3.5 megawatts. This was done through conservation measures,
load shedding and power plant management, and achieved while new buildings
were being opened for use. Conservation efforts alone produced a 4.5 percent
electrical consumption reduction between 2005 and 2006.
-- The recent 270 bed Fauver Residence was designed and built to be one of
the most energy-efficient facilities of its kind. In 2005, the residence was
awarded with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification (LEED).
LEED is an independently developed standard for environmentally-friendly
design and construction.
-- The university has completed 29 energy management projects in the last
three years that have an average return on investment of 1.8 years and have
produced annual energy savings of more than $275,000.
-- The university
plans to install a cogeneration system, also known as CoGen. CoGen is the
use of a single fuel source to simultaneously generate both electricity and
heat. The CoGen system would be integrated with Wesleyan’s existing
facilities. It will cost approximately $1.7 million after a $1.3 million
rebate from the Connecticut Department of Public Utility. The facility will
save about $500,000 a year in energy costs.
In addition, Wesleyan has
undertaken dozens of smaller scale measures to improve environmental
efficiency and expand green practices, all of which cumulatively are
producing visible results. In addition, the university has undertaken
extensive recycling efforts.
“To continue to do these things this will not be easy,” Roth said. “It will
cost us some money and we will have to rethink some plans. But it is a
commitment we all feel strongly about. We are creating momentum for change.”
Summaries of Wesleyan's sustainability initiatives can be found online at:
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations