At last week’s opening session of the SMC Focus the Nation Teach-In on global warming solutions, Santa Monica College President Dr. Chui L. Tsang announced his pledge to fight global warming by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
The announcement commits SMC to “achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.” SMC was one of over 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide participating in the Teach-In.
Noting that SMC has already made great strides in sustainability, Tsang said, “I join approximately 500 other college and university presidents nationwide in committing our institutions to a vigorous effort to reduce green­­house gases and to become ‘climate neutral’ as soon as possible.”
SMC is just one of a handful of community colleges statewide that have signed on to the groundbreaking accord. To date, the leaders of 482 of the country’s more than 4,000 colleges and universities have signed the agreement.
“We are proud of our strong commitment to the environment,” Tsang said. “We are getting greener every semester. But this is not enough.”
Tsang pointed to several major sustainable achievements at SMC in the past few years, including its ambitious transportation initiative. Big Blue Bus officials estimate that students and employees riding their lines – many of which are subsidized by the college and are free to SMC students and employees – has reduced vehicle trips to the campus by an estimated 6,000 a day.
He also cited SMC’s No. 1 position among community colleges statewide in its solid waste recycling (89 percent of its waste is recycled), its U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification on several construction projects, its environmental curriculum that cuts across disciplines, and its installation of stormwater retention systems in locations on the main and satellite campuses. And he noted that the college recently hired a sustainability coordinator to help implement a comprehensive environmental audit that was released in 2007.
“Today’s action is not just symbolic. It holds Santa Monica College to an action plan with measurable outcomes,” Tsang said. “In other words, we have to demonstrate that we’ve put our green spirit where our mouth is.
“For example,” he said, “one of the things we commit ourselves to is, within one year, to complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions.”
For more information on the Presidents Climate Commitment, go to