On March 12, in the lead-up to the Global Youth Climate Strike, the Student Government Association at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., unanimously voted in favor of a bill calling for the university to pursue climate neutrality by 2025. “Climate neutrality” refers to having a net-zero impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
If the policy is adopted by university administration, it would accelerate the university’s existing climate neutrality commitment by 25 years and put Appalachian State in the ranks of more than 100 universities in the United States committed to climate or carbon neutrality prior to 2030.
The act would commission a Climate Neutrality Working Group comprised of university and community members to develop a plan to achieve the goal, mandate energy efficiency measures, and implement a 100 percent renewable energy purchasing agreement. Along with necessary financial and institutional measures, the bill outlines an internal carbon price, financial support and mechanisms for oversight and accountability.
Student Government Association Senator Devin Mullins drafted the bill with the Appalachian Climate Action Collaborative, a campus organization, in hopes that it would make the university and community stronger and serve as a model for the rest of the state. The bill was sponsored by academic departments, Greek life organizations, Chancellor’s scholars and several campus clubs who filled the student government meeting room to capacity.
Next, the collaborative intends to bring a climate neutrality resolution to the Faculty Senate and build partnerships with the local group Climate Transition Blue Ridge and with related organizations across the state. — By Natalie Lunsford