Photo of Duke Chapel

Duke's Campus Sustainability Committee

Overview

The Duke University Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC), a standing committee appointed by the President, is responsible for making recommendations to guide campus sustainability policies. Committee members are also tasked with championing these sustainability initiatives and communicating them to each member's respective constituencies to foster a more sustainable campus community. 

Over the past several years, Duke has made great strides in expanding our sustainability efforts across the operational and academic areas of campus and amplifying these efforts to the broader community. The work of the Campus Sustainability Committee to expand the CAP into a broader Sustainability Strategic Plan has guided much of this success. Since 2011, the CSC has assessed current efforts and worked to develop goals around important topics such as water, waste, food, natural resources, sustainable investment and procurement. Toddi Steelman, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, will co-chair the committee along with Dr. Tallman Trask, Executive Vice President.

History

In July 2007, Duke agreed to participate in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment to look at reducing the global emission of greenhouse gases. The goal of this initiative was to develop institutional plans to achieve climate neutrality in the future. To help create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of such a plan at Duke, President Brodhead asked the Executive Vice President and Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment to co-chair the Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC). The initial charge to this committee was two-fold. First, the committee would be responsible for gathering data, and analyzing and defining Duke's overall greenhouse gas emissions by June 30, 2008. Secondly, the committee was charged with developing a clear plan of action with targets, strategies, and timetables to reduce Duke's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by January 31, 2009. Operationally, the main source of Duke's GHG emissions are the campus steam plant, electrical usage, and transportation. To facilitate the planning process, the committee formed working groups around these three specific focus areas, plus one to communicate Duke's efforts to address climate change and the ways that individual behavior impacts our success. Another subcommittee focused on incorporating sustainability and climate change into the educational elements of campus has also been developed.

After review by senior staff and the Board of Trustees, Duke officially submitted its Climate Action Plan (CAP) on October 15, 2009 to the ACUPCC. The target date for neutrality is 2024. The charge of the CSC transitioned to overseeing implementation, tracking progress towards CAP milestones, and reporting back to the campus community on the CAP and other campus sustainability efforts. As our initiatives grow and change at Duke, so does the focus of the CSC. Since 2011, the committee has focused on expansion of the current CAP to a broader Sustainability Strategic Plan.

Current Committee Task

Duke's original Climate Action Plan (CAP) was written in 2009 and has guided Duke University to a 22% reduction in total emissions compared to the 2007 baseline. Nearly a decade later it is time for the Campus Sustainability Committee to revisit and update the CAP. In preparation for this update, the CSC and its various subcommittees have investigated energy and transportation at Duke University and has advised on recommendations to continue to reduce emissions. These recommendations will be summarized in the CAP update and shared with the Duke community for additional feedback in the Fall of 2018. The CAP will be updated based on feedback and finalized in the spring of 2019.

Current Members

Faculty

  • Toddi Steelman - Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, CSC Co-chair
  • Charlotte Clark - Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Joel Collier - Pratt School of Engineering
  • Ellen Davis - Divinity School
  • Christine Folch - Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
  • Mona Hassan - Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
  • Dirk Philipsen - Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Tim Profeta - Nicholas Institue for Environmental Policy Solutions
  • Katherine Schipper - Fuqua School of Business
  • Jonathan Wiener - Law School
  • Ara Wilson - Trinity School of Arts and Sciences

Administration

  • Tallman Trask - Executive Vice President, CSC Co-Chair
  • Matt Arsenault - Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative
  • Tavey Capps - Sustainable Duke
  • Carl DePinto - Parking and Transportation
  • Jason Elliott - Sustainable Duke
  • Joe Gonzales - Housing and Residence Life
  • Paul Grantham - HR Communications
  • Mark Hough - Facilities Management Department
  • Anne Light - Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations
  • John Noonan - Facilities Management Department
  • Jane Pleasants - Procurement
  • Tatjana Vujic - Director of Biogas Strategy

Students

  • Joyce Huang - Environmental Alliance
  • Olina Zhu - Environmental Alliance
  • Caroline Heitmann - Duke Climate Coalition
  • Amanda Padden - Duke Climate Coalition
  • Anna Chang - Duke Sustainability Board
  • Rachel Bash - Duke Sustainability Board
  • Thomas Hessel - Duke Student Government
  • Claire He - Graduate and Professional Student Council
  • Shannon Parker - Graduate and Professional Student Council
  • Margaret Overton - Undergraduate Environmental Union
  • Ashley Rosen - Undergraduate Environmental Union