Sustainable Clark

  • Clark's cogeneration plant

Clark University Sustainability Task Force (CUES)

President Bassett established the Clark University Environmental Sustainability Task Force in 2006. The task force is comprised of representatives from the faculty, administration, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. The mission is to promote environmental sustainability at Clark University by increasing awareness of environmental and sustainability issues on campus, by researching environmental impacts of University activities along with recommendations for improvement, and coordinating activities related to environmental sustainability of the University. The Task Force is also named responsible for managing and monitoring Clark's Climate Action Plan progress. The Task Force has oversight to the Food Systems Working Group, a committee of faculty, administration, staff and students responsible for achieving the goals of the Real Food Challenge which was signed in 2013 and commits Clark to 20% Real Food by 2020. The Task Force reports to the President.

The Task Force provided a Progress Report to the President in 2012. In 2013, the Task Force assessed and presented a justification for Clark to subscribe to AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Ranking program (STARS) to chart the University's progress and encourage systemic change. In 2013-14 the Task Force discussed and crafted an updated range of sustainability metrics and goals that would preclude membership in STARS. The Task Force also received a Climate Action Plan Update report from Sharon Bort '14 that addressed new technologies, revisited existing mitigation strategies, and considered future actions given the achievement of Clark's 2015 interim greenhouse gas emissions goal.

The Task Force published an Environmental Sustainability Report in 2007. The purpose of this Environmental Sustainability Report was to:

  • Introduce a set of metrics by which to measure and track the environmental footprint of the University;
  • Identify and assess programs and initiatives undertaken at Clark University to improve our environmental performance;
  • To increase awareness of the environmental impacts of activities of the University;
  • To disseminate information about environmental sustainability at Clark and promote action toward sustainability.

Clark University has a long history of involvement with environmental issues. Faculty and students have pioneered research on natural hazards and risk, land use change, pollution control, and many other environmental issues. This tradition continues today with research underway at the George Perkins Marsh Institute on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, as well as teaching and research in academic departments across campus. At the same time, faculty, staff and students have spearheaded efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the University through such actions as establishing a cogeneration plant on campus, a recycling center, green buildings, and other initiatives.

The global community rightly looks to universities to provide leadership in addressing these challenges, building on the core mission of research, teaching and learning. One important aspect of that leadership is to take stock of our own environmental impact, and to explore ways in which we can enhance the environmental sustainability of our campus.