COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Energy2028

January 29, 2019

 

To the Middlebury Community,

In the early winter of 2017, after Middlebury had achieved carbon neutrality, I challenged our Environmental Council to envision the next steps in our sustainable future. The process that followed was a demonstration of Middlebury at its very best. Faculty, staff, and students proposed and debated dozens of ideas. Gradually a vision began to emerge. This past weekend, the Middlebury Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed that vision in the form of Energy2028—a 10-year plan conceived to transform our community’s commitment to living sustainably. We are announcing the plan today.

Middlebury’s new mission statement begins with the commitment to “educate students to lead engaged, consequential, and creative lives, contribute to their communities, and address the world’s most challenging problems.” Middlebury’s board noted prominently in its statement last fall that climate change is one of the most profound challenges facing our world and is therefore an educational and institutional priority of the highest order. Energy2028 will fulfill Middlebury’s educational mission at its deepest level; through its programs and projects, students will learn how to engage their communities, think consequentially, and act creatively at this crucial time for our environment. 

There are four interdependent components to Energy2028:

  • First, Middlebury commits to powering its core campus with 100 percent renewable energy by 2028. We plan to do this through a combination of new solar, hydro, and renewable natural gas initiatives. Wherever possible, we will make those investments in Vermont.
  • Second, Middlebury commits to reducing its energy consumption by 25 percent by 2028, and to retrofit its buildings to measure energy consumption more accurately. We are also exploring the design of an internal carbon tax to contribute to this effort.
  • Third, by June 2019, Middlebury’s endowment manager, Investure, will cease all new direct fossil fuel investments in the endowment. Middlebury further commits to phasing out all direct investments in fossil fuels on a schedule designed to protect the value of our endowment: a 25 percent reduction in 3 years, 50 percent in 8 years, and 100 percent in 15 years. Investure will also continue to increase Middlebury’s holdings in sustainable investments over time.
  • Fourth, Middlebury commits to building a robust educational plan at the core of Energy2028, where faculty, staff, and students develop immersive and experiential teaching and research opportunities that will influence the plan’s evolution and will significantly expand current offerings in environmental education at Middlebury.

Energy2028 has been a journey of extraordinary collaboration and committed, long-term conversations. These conversations have taken place across towns, states, countries, and continents over many years. They have not always been easy; they have traversed real differences of opinion, experience, and expertise.But throughout they have been inspired by our hopes for a better future for our planet. I also want to acknowledge here the work and leadership of our studentsboth current and pastthroughout this process. At the heart of education is intergenerational responsibility. Energy2028 hopes to fulfill that responsibility, one educational project at a time.

 

Yours cordially,

Laurie Patton
President

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