Wells Joins Dozens of Colleges and Universities Calling Upon President Biden to Meet 2030 Climate Targets

April 21, 2021
The letter, sent earlier this month to the White House, notes that higher education is uniquely positioned to play a central role in these efforts, given their numerous connections in their own communities and to society as a whole.

Wells College has joined dozens of other colleges and universities who recently called upon the Biden administration to adopt a target of at least a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2030. The 75 institutions represent 29 different states and comprise a wide variety of institutions, including liberal arts colleges, large research universities, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), regional comprehensive colleges and tribal colleges.

The letter, sent April 8 to the White House, notes that higher education is uniquely positioned to play a central role in these efforts, given their numerous connections in their own communities and to society as a whole. “We affirm that solving global challenges, like the challenges posed by global climate change, is a key part of our educational missions,” the letter stated. “Through our curriculum, research and operations, we will continue to be engines of innovation driving climate solutions in this county, and around the world, in the years ahead.” [Click here to read the full text of the letter.]

The letter was made possible thanks to efforts by Second Nature, an advocacy group that partners with hundreds of colleges and universities to accelerate climate action in, and through, higher education. It does this by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions.

Under the supervision of the College’s Center for Sustainability and the Environment and numerous other campus partners, Wells College has for years been a leader in sustainability and conservation efforts. Some recent successes include: 

  • Wells was named as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges in the 2021 Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges, earning a Green Rating of 93 (on a scale of 60 to 99). Colleges on the list were selected according to evaluations of their sustainability-related policies, practices and programs such as academic offerings, food procurement and alternative transportation programs.
  • By the 2019-20 year, Wells College had reduced its own campus carbon emissions by more than 60 percent compared to its 2008 baseline emissions. This reduction, a decrease of 18 percent from the 2018–19 year alone, was made possible in part thanks to the “energy-as-a-service” agreement the College signed in 2018 with Metrus Energy.
  • In calendar year 2020, Wells College was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partner program as one of only 14 participating colleges and universities in New York State to source some or all of its electricity from renewable sources. Of those 14 schools, Wells is among only six institutions that purchases 100 percent “green” power.

“Wells College is fortunate indeed to enjoy great support among all sectors of the campus community — students, faculty, staff and administration — to take meaningful steps to address climate change,” said Marian Brown, director of the Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment. “President Gibralter’s recognition of the vital role of higher education institutions in tackling the causes of and developing the solutions for climate change keeps Wells consistently visible on the front lines advocating for multi-sector, domestic and international action,” she added. 

“I am pleased that the U.S. presidential administration has re-joined the Paris Agreement earlier this year, but this is only a first step in the fight against one of the most vexing challenges of the modern era,” said Wells College President Jonathan Gibralter, referring to the climate agreement that was signed in 2016 under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “Considering Wells College’s longtime strengths in science education, sustainability efforts and interdisciplinary research, I know that schools like ours will undoubtedly play a major role in educating the public that climate change is a real, immediate threat,” President Gibralter added.

About the Center for Sustainability and the Environment

The Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment was established in 2014 as the hub for sustainability education across disciplines and the catalyst for campus sustainability efforts at the College. The center supports faculty interested in incorporating sustainability content into their curriculum, invites outside experts to share their insights with the Wells campus community, and fosters collaborative relationships with a deep network of organizations, agencies, businesses and other partners in our community. Wells College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities to offer formal educational programs in sustainability, and the College has been recognized regularly by the Princeton Review, Sierra Club and others for its leadership in this area. Learn more at wells.edu/sustainability

About Wells College

Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Wells, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, helps students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to build their confidence and create their own unique path in life. With dozens of majors and minors available in the sciences, arts, humanities and pre-professional programs, Wells provides a purposeful curriculum and an immersive educational experience that is steeped in tradition. Students can also take advantage of 13 NCAA Division III athletic teams; dozens of student-led organizations and clubs; and cross-registration agreements with Cornell University, Ithaca College and Cayuga Community College. More at wells.edu.

Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

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