October 23, 2009

Good Morning:

Last year I signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging, among other things, that Tulane would work toward carbon neutrality by balancing the amount of any carbon released with measures to reduce such emissions by an equivalent amount. My support was not driven by political correctness; instead, it was motivated by the fact that it was the right thing do for our campus and wider community.

To fulfill the carbon neutrality component of the commitment, we first determined how much greenhouse gases we actually emit at our campuses and research buildings in New Orleans, Harahan, Covington, Belle Chasse, Houston and Biloxi. Our findings showed that energy used by buildings is the largest source of greenhouse gases at Tulane, followed by travel for university business, commuting by faculty, staff and students, waste and our vehicle fleet. The full report is available at Now that we know the sources, the Climate Commitment Advisory Committee I appointed will research ways to reduce our emissions. Their report will be finished next year.

Meanwhile, we continue to reduce the university's energy use and environmental impact in other ways. For instance, new campus construction projects, such as the renovation of Dinwiddie Hall, are following the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building program.

These and other efforts are already beginning to pay off. The Sustainable Endowments Institute recently gave Tulane a "B" on its "College Sustainability Report Card for 2010." We won't stop working until we get an "A," but this is a good start. In addition, the Arbor Day Foundation recently named Tulane a "2009 Tree Campus USA University" for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. Tulane will officially celebrate its Tree Campus USA designation from noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 with a plaque dedication, festivities and a tree planting effort in which students will plant 45 trees on campus.

You can also learn all about recycling, environmental majors, sustainable dining, green rebuilding projects, campus environmental organizations and more at the second annual Going Green Block Party from 4 to 6 p.m., Oct. 27 on Mayer Quad, behind Le Gourmet. There will be live music from student bands, local and sustainable cuisine on the grill, with free samples, and an opportunity to meet campus organizations and offices working to make Tulane and New Orleans greener for us all.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638