In order to become more sustainable and meet the mandate set by the 2021 Rhode Island Act on Climate law (RI General Law §42-6.2), Salve Regina University must work to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. Action to meet these standards begins now and must be continually built upon to ensure that Salve Regina University, as leader in Rhode Island, is always working for a more sustainable future. Throughout the Spring 2022 semester, students of the BIO-140: Humans and Their Environment course instructed by Dr. Jameson Chace have researched ways in which Salve Regina can begin on the path to zero greenhouse gas emissions today. By focusing on change in the areas of energy, transportation, food, financial investments, and sequestration, Salve Regina can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of today for a more sustainable tomorrow. Recommendations are broken into three time periods. Action for today to achieve by 2030 include improving energy efficiency, installing the first electric vehicle (EV) parking/charging stations, increasing carbon sequestration, reducing beef in the campus diet, and assessing the carbon impact of university financial holdings. Actions to be initiated soon and to be achieved by 2040 include shifting away from natural gas heating when system renewals take place, increasing EV parking to meet rising demand, during turnover replace current university vehicles with electric or hybrid, continuing with sequestration efforts on campus, begin phasing out high carbon diet items, and by 2040 the university investment portfolio should be carbon neutral. If carbon neutrality can be reached by 2050 the most challenging aspects of campus life that need to change will require planning now and thoughtful implementation. The class in 2022 envisions a campus in 2050 where solar lights illuminate campus and buildings through the night, all university vehicles and most faculty and staff vehicles are electric and are found charging during the day at solar powered charging stations, dinning services in Miley supports community agriculture and includes incentives for meatless and low carbon meal plans, the university has become a leader in low carbon/green market investing demonstrating how careful planning can reap high returns, and carbon sequestration on campus grounds has maximized such that off campus carbon offsets are established with local land trusts to complete the carbon neutrality goals.
In doing so no only will the university be recognized as a state-wide leader in climate action, but will also be a global leader in working towards a world that is more harmonious, just, and merciful.
Chace, Jameson; Barrows, Jared; Bermingham, Casey; Bigansky, Dylan; Braccia, Avery; Bryant, Natalie; Cavanagh, Claire; Cheatham, Jerry; Colon, Alexander; Connor, Courtney; Deady, John; Duman, Mary; Farley, Mia; Gajic, Alexander; Grover, Brandon; Hassler, Andrew; Hinds, Dhana; Hoye, Abigail; Karpinski, Emma; Doherty, Finn; McClelland, Genevieve; McCormack, Stella; McCue, Maggie; McGrillen, Emma; McKenna, Kelly; Messina, Gianfranco; Murphy, Liam; Newton, Maeve; Pastorok, Mia; Petrosino, Tyler; Richard, Samuel; Riddle, Marion; Sagun, Allison; Serra, Jessica; Tucker, Aidan; and Voli, Patrick, "Salve Regina University Act on Climate: Strategic Plan for the University to Reach State Carbon Neutrality Goals" (2022). BIO140 Carbon Footprint Project. 9.