Luther College Receives Second Nature Climate Leadership Award

Luther College has been selected to receive a 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, recognizing Luther as one of the nation's leading colleges and universities with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus and integrating this goal with the college's educational mission.

The 10 award recipients in the Second Nature competition will be honored at the 2012 Climate Leadership Summit to be held June 21-22 at American University in Washington, D.C. Luther President Richard Torgerson will attend the event to accept the award on behalf of the college at the dinner and Climate Leadership Award Ceremony on June 21.

"Luther College is honored to be recognized as one of a select group of educational institutions chosen for the Climate Leadership Award," said President Torgerson. "We are pleased to have this affirmation of Luther's commitment to sustainability, both in the operation of our campus and its facilities, and in the education of our students.

"To be selected as one of the best of the best -- one of the top colleges from among the 20 finalists for the Climate Leadership Award -- is a great honor," President Torgerson said. "All of these institutions are acknowledged national leaders in sustainability initiatives and achievements, and Luther is proud to be named as one of the leaders in the nation."

Luther's Climate Leadership Award is in the baccalaureate college category. Two award winners were selected in each of five categories: doctorate granting universities, master's degree granting colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, associate/tribal colleges, and special focus institutions/others.

The award winners were selected by the Second Nature Board of Directors. Second Nature is the lead organization of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, a network of more than 675 higher education institutions in 50 states that have made a commitment to prepare young people to solve the climate crisis.

President Torgerson was among the first college presidents to sign the ACUPCC pledge, an agreement among colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action. The ACUPCC is a growing network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions and to make sustainability a part of every student's learning experience.

"Luther College was selected for the Climate Leadership Award primarily because of its success in integrating campus technology and the learning experience with environmental sustainability," said Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC.

As part of its strategic plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent, Luther recently completed a 1.6 megawatt wind turbine that produces a third of the college's electrical energy, and it is constructing a field of solar panels to generate all of the electricity consumed by its Baker Village residential complex, home to 100 students. "Luther has set an important example by working towards this interim reduction target for all of higher education and society in light of the latest scientific information that we need significant reductions in the next five years if we are to avoid serious and unmanageable climate disruption," says Cortese.

Cortese noted that Luther's commitment to sustainable practices and lifestyle is also incorporated into students' learning experiences. The college conducts faculty workshops on integrating sustainability into the curriculum, develops student internships promoting green practices in the surrounding community, and supports a peer-to-peer program that fosters sustainability literacy on campus.

"Luther College has drawn a successful blueprint for not just teaching sustainability in the classroom, but also practicing what they preach and allowing students to contribute to the planning and to see it take place throughout campus," said Cortese. "This kind of systemic approach to sustainability can make the planet healthier and better prepare Luther graduates for jobs in the new-energy economy."

The ACUPCC acknowledged Luther's achievements in April as part of its Celebrating Sustainability series, which identified signatories' efforts to re-stabilize the earth's climate through education, research and community engagement.

University Press Release here.


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