OPINION | Danko should sign environmental initiative

Butler University’s Board of Trustees retreat will begin in Naples, Fla., tomorrow and last through Saturday.

At this retreat, it is expected that President Jim Danko will begin reaching out to the board in preparation for his signing of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

By signing the commitment, higher education institutions pledge to develop a plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.

It is a step he should take.

The commitment states, “We recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely being caused by humans.

“We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of green house gases by 80 percent by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming.”

This commitment should not be interpreted as a political statement.

It is urgent and necessary for Butler to demonstrate that reversing climate disruption is central to education on campus.

Butler should not stand on the sidelines and fail to rise to the challenge.

Council on Presidential Affairs chair Mike Tirman and senior Ginnye Cubel, CPA green operations coordinator, began researching the commitment after Tirman brought up the ACUPCC at an October meeting with the administration.
“Mike and I then worked on a document that went step by step on what Butler would need to do if Danko were to sign the commitment,” Cubel said. “After reading the research, Danko decided he needed to go to the Board of Trustees.”

At the retreat this weekend, a main goal for the board must be getting on the same page with Danko.

Signing this pledge is a push toward bringing climate change and sustainability to the forefront of discussions at Butler.

I am anticipating the outcome from this retreat with excitement as it will determine the future for the ACUPCC and Butler.

The board should recognize that Danko is in favor of the commitment, as is the student population.

Student Government Association Assembly is voting today on a resolution “enthusiastically” endorsing the commitment and urging Danko to sign the commitment.

The resolution, if passed, will be presented to Danko before he leaves for Naples to share with the board.
“Personally, I think we should go for it,” Cubel said.

“When we were outlining the steps in this commitment, Butler actually has accomplished a lot of them already. I think it is a very important step. Indiana is one of the worst environmental states in the nation, and Butler’s green report card is pretty dismal as well.”

Currently, Butler has a C- grade in the College Sustainability report card.

The board should also understand that by signing the commitment, positive impacts on campus can occur in a short amount of time.

It was in the fall of 2007 when Rev. Peter M. Donohue, president of Villanova, signed the commitment.

The actual Climate Action Plan began in late 2008 at the university.

First Lady Bethanie Danko served on the President’s Climate Commitment Core Team at Villanova as senior communications associate as well.

Villanova now has an A- grade in the college sustainability report card and is ranked 32nd in the nation by the Sierra Club for being one of the greenest colleges in the nation.

This could happen here.

Danko could potentially sign the measure during Earth Week, when Butler also plans to unveil the bike share program and green roof.

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