President Harris, Students Sign, Support Climate Leadership Commitment

USD President James T. Harris signed a Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment and USD student leaders joined him to commit their support. USD President James T. Harris, center, flanked by, from left: Gianna Petersen, Amanda Young, Marion Chavarria Rivera and Rhonda Papp, sign and support a Climate Leadership Commitment.

University of San Diego President James T. Harris, during Global Climate Change Week (Oct. 14-20) co-signed a Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment, sponsored by Second Nature, alongside USD students leaders on Thursday in the Degheri Alumni Center courtyard.

The signing enables the university to join a climate leadership network comprised of colleges and universities in nearly every state and the District of Columbia who are acting on climate and preparing students through research and education to solve the challenges of the 21st century.

“We commit to going carbon neutral by 2035; mobilize more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; and increase the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus and community outreach programs,” President Harris said.

Co-signing with him were Associated Student Government President Marion Chavarria Rivera; Associated Student Government Sustainability Chair and School of Business Senator Rhonda Papp; Gianna Petersen, an Environmental and Ocean Sciences major who organized a successful on-campus climate walk-out in September that connected to an international walkout; and Amanda Young, an MBA student and leader of the graduate student chapter of Net Impact.

The students each signed their names to a USD Student Climate Commitment, sharing the concerns of President Harris regarding global climate change.

“We commend the bold steps he has announced to advance the concepts of Care for Our Common Home at USD, including the appointment of a campus director for the initiative. We are further encouraged by his recent pledge that USD achieve carbon neutrality by 2035,” the student commitment states. “As representatives of students across USD, we understand and accept our shared responsibility to help the university achieve its carbon neutrality goal. We acknowledge that global climate change is one of humanity’s urgent challenges, as it has and will continue to have adverse impacts on our society, our health, our economy, and our environment.”

Harris appointed Associate Professor of Environmental and Ocean Studies Michel Boudrias, PhD, as director for the Care for Our Common Home Pathway, which is part of Harris’ strategic initiatives plan. Boudrias has a long track record as a faculty representative for sustainability issues at USD. He’s also the principal investigator for Climate Education Partners.

Dr. Boudrias and Office of Sustainability Director Trey McDonald were present for the commitment signing.

To learn more about USD’s sustainability efforts, please visit the Office of Sustainability website.

— Ryan T. Blystone


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