The development and implementation of a Climate Action and Resilience Plan will position the university to effectively respond to the changing landscapes of higher education as well as prepare for a variety of environmental and social pressures related to our changing climate.
UW-Stevens Point signed Second Nature’s Carbon Neutrality Commitment in 2007. UW-Stevens Point joined over 100 other universities across the United States by signing the Second Nature’s Resilience Commitment in December 2023. Chancellor Gibson, in partnership with university leadership, signed the Resilience Commitment and instructed the UW-Stevens Point Office of Sustainability to begin the resilience planning process in 2024. Resilience is the ability of a system or community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change.
Second Nature is a Massachusetts-based non-profit dedicated to encouraging climate action in and through institutions of higher education. The organization will support UW-Stevens Point during the development of a Climate Action and Resilience Plan. UW-Stevens Point will be required to submit yearly progress reports to Second Nature on the university’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, assess resilience thresholds and incorporate resilience into the curriculum.
The university will be using a pair of established resilience planning methods to help integrate all stakeholders’ ideas into a consistent Climate Action and Resilience Plan. The two main methods we will focus on are from the Nature Conservancy and their Community Resilience Building (CRB) model, and Second Nature’s framework for resilience planning.
Second Nature’s framework encourages schools to not only assess and reduce vulnerability, but also to assess and enhance overall resilience and adaptive capacity. Campuses should go beyond managing extreme and potentially catastrophic events; they should proactively plan for preferable futures. Resilience building is an iterative process. While these steps appear to be linear, in reality campuses may be working on multiple steps simultaneously.
UW-Stevens Point is committed to reducing energy consumption. We are continually looking for and implement cost effective energy conservation measures to reduce our overall emissions and we currently offset some of our total carbon emissions through green electricity purchases, composting and sustainable forestry practices. The combination of carbon reduction and carbon offsets will eventually lead us to carbon neutrality.
COMPOSTINGBy introducing compost bins across the majority of residential and academic buildings on campus, UWSP has continued to reduce our emissions through effective waste management. This initiative has kept over 450 tons of waste out of landfills and has reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 100 MTCDE. Not only is compost reducing UWSP’s carbon footprint, but it is also creating a learning environment for students in our waste management programs.
RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS (RECs)Starting in 2016 UWSP committed to offsetting the entirety of our Scope 2 emissions (purchase electricity) by purchasing Green-e certified RECs. By using RECs we can verify the campus is run entirely on clean and renewable energy. In combination with the renewable energies that are produced on campus, these RECs play a significant role in our move towards carbon neutrality. Over the long term, the goal is to improve energy efficiency and conservation measures on campus, while also increasing our onsite renewable energy capacity to reduce the number of RECs we need to buy in the future to achieve our carbon neutrality goals.
MANAGED FORESTSWe practice sustainable forestry on properties owned by UW-Stevens Point’s College of Natural Resources throughout central and northern Wisconsin. Sustainable forestry is the use of forests and forest lands in a way and at a rate that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and potential to fulfill relevant ecological, economic and social functions at local, national and global levels, without causing damage to other ecosystems. These managed forests store atmospheric carbon, while improving soil and water quality.
SOLAR ENERGYMost of the UW-Stevens Point residence halls are equipped with solar panels that pre-heat the domestic water. On the south side of the Noel Fine Arts Center is a set of photovoltaic panels that capture light energy from the sun and use it to light a section of the courtyard area. We have added solar panels in Schmeeckle Reserve and Treehaven and continue to add more to save on energy.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES To reduce our emissions and greenhouse gasses, electric vehicles are used by Facility Services Mail Room and Central Stores for campus deliveries.
We would like to thank our campus, community and partners for helping us align with the Resilience Commitment set forth by UW-Stevens Point administration. The university will rely on collaboration and expertise across a wide range of disciplines and stakeholders.
In order for us to continue to receive valuable input from our campus and community to help guide the process and decision-making, we ask that you sign up for email updates from the planning group.