As the necessity for a more environmentally friendly world grows, Brandeis has started taking steps to create a more sustainable campus. In 2015, Brandeis set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2018. The campus has reached this goal and even surpassed it at 12.6 percent reduction of carbon emissions. It has been a gradual reduction, and the fight to lower carbon emissions is not over yet. A new goal was set to reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent over the 2015 baseline by 2020.
In order to reach the 2018 goal, a change in energy policy was made in order to avoid overusing heating and cooling systems on campus. Brandeis also took action by reducing the use of natural gas from the heating plant, decreasing streamline pressure and testing biofuel in the previous winter. The progression towards a more environmentally friendly campus began in 2007 when Brandeis agreed to the Carbon Commitment, promising to integrate more sustainable and climate change adaptive practices on campus. In 2015, Brandeis set a tangible goal through the Climate Action Plan to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.
Although the Trump Administration decided to revoke the U.S.’s participation in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, President Ron Liebowitz signed “We Are Still In,” stating, “Brandeis is proud to stand with other universities and innovative businesses, mayors and governors from across the U.S. who are all committed to working within our institutions and together to advance sustainability while combating climate change” in 2017.
This is an incredibly important time for changes in sustainability on campus with the increasing risk of climate change, and students are not yet satisfied by Brandeis’ efforts. Brandeis Climate Justice says in their official banner statement, “Sustainability is not enough to combat climate change when 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Brandeis must take a stand against fossil fuel corporations if they claim to care about their students’ futures.”
Izzi Graj ’21, a student in BCJ, emphasized the importance of this statement, saying, “The school cannot say it believes in a clean and just future if they are invested in the industries destroying any chance we have of one.”
Despite the goals Brandeis has set and completed so far, there are still many steps to take for Brandeis to improve their sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.