December 8, 2016: Message from the President: A Day to Celebrate

December 8, 2016


Dear Middlebury Community Members,

Today is a momentous one in Middlebury's long history of environmental leadership.

I'm pleased and proud to announce that we have achieved our decade-long goal of making Middlebury's Vermont campuses carbon neutral by the end of 2016. This accomplishment reflects the vision and determined work of countless individuals, starting with the students at the College who proposed the idea in 2007 and continuing with the staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and trustees who studied it, endorsed it, and ultimately transformed that vision into reality.

Former President Ron Liebowitz deserves special acknowledgment today; his steadfast leadership on this issue was a driving force that kept the institution focused even when the goal, at times, seemed beyond reach.

Since Middlebury began this project, many large and small initiatives have brought us to carbon neutrality. Our biomass plant, which first came online in 2008, has helped us cut our annual usage of heating oil by more than half. Altogether, we have invested in 87 efficiency projects to reduce our electricity usage by 4.52 million kWh. Three solar projects—the last of which will go online in the coming weeks—combined will provide the equivalent of 8 percent of our electricity consumption. Most recently, thanks in great measure to the generous support of former trustee Louis Bacon ’79, we conserved 2,100 acres of beautiful forestlands at our Bread Loaf campus, creating more than enough carbon credits to push us past our goal.

But our work is not done, and will never be done. Our understanding of the dynamics of climate change will deepen, and the technologies and practices we adopt to reduce our impact will continue to evolve. The one thing that will not change is our commitment to action. Our work will carry on as we educate a new generation of environmental leaders, engage in impactful research, and work to further reduce our carbon impact in Vermont, at the Institute in Monterey, and at our operations around the world.

I invite you to learn more about today's announcement on Middlebury's sustainability website, where we have posted a news story, video, and other information.

With gratitude,

Laurie L. Patton

Office of the President

Old Chapel
9 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753