Ryan Chartrand

Dear President Baker,

With 23 campuses, 450,000 students, 46,000 faculty and staff, and more than $3 billion in annual capital expenditures, the California State University system can play a significant role in solving critical problems and providing innovative solutions for the state of California. As the largest university system in the United States, it is imperative that we hold ourselves to the highest standard of performance and accountability.

As an academic institution, the CSU system needs to exercise leadership in our society. Generations to come will face daunting global crises, including climate change, geo-political unrest due to resource depletion and environmental degradation. Fortunately, none of these problems are unsolvable, but action must be taken immediately. Global climate change creates the risk for incalculable social, economic and ecological disruption. As the educators of future leaders and problem solvers, California’s higher education communities have an obligation to address climate change along with the world’s other great challenges. Leading society in this effort fits squarely into the educational, research and public service missions of higher education. No other institution in society has the influence, critical mass or the diversity of skills needed to successfully reverse global warming. Campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and integrating sustainability into their curriculums will better serve their students and meet their social mandates to help create a thriving, ethical and civil society.

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is a nationwide initiative to make campuses more sustainable and address climate change by garnering institutional commitments to try to reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campus. This is an extension of the progress made by previous campaigns and bills, such as ReNew CSU, CSU Executive Order 987, AB-32 and the Governor’s Executive Order S-3-05.

Currently, 518 university presidents have signed this commitment including Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Chico, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Monterey Bay and San Francisco State. The UC System president has already signed the commitment for all of the collective UC campuses. In order to provide all of California’s students with the knowledge and skills needed to address the critical, systemic challenges we face in this new century, the CSU system must take on a leadership role on climate change.

At the Associated Students Inc. Board of Directors meeting on April 9, you expressed that Chancellor Reed should sign the commitment for the entire CSU system. We agree that all 23 campuses should have a goal of climate neutrality, and we support you in asking the chancellor to sign the Climate Commitment. But Cal Poly should not wait.

As the premier university of the CSU system, it is imperative for Cal Poly to exercise leadership on the issue of global warming. Cal Poly CAN (. and should) sign the Presidents Climate Commitment. If we are truly seeking to become a world-leading university in this new century, Cal Poly must take a stand and fully commit to developing climate change solutions and creating a carbon-neutral campus.

-Empower Poly Coalition

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