IU announced Monday that IU President Pamela Whitten approved the university’s climate action plan in an IU Today press release. The plan, based on the recommendations of IU’s Climate Action Planning Committee, will lead IU on a path to carbon neutrality by 2040.
IU created the Climate Action Planning Committee in spring 2022 after a series of student protests, including by the climate activism group Students for a New Green World, advocating for divestment from fossil fuels. The committee, made up of professors, staff and student representatives from several IU campuses, was charged with creating comprehensive recommendations to reduce IU’s greenhouse gas emissions across the university’s nine campuses.
“Off the bat, I’m happy to see commitments like carbon neutrality by 2040 like we have been demanding for three semesters,” Soha Vora, president of SNGW, said. “I’m also happy to see the plans for diverse student and faculty representation as well as implementation committees across every campus.”
In an Instagram post, SNGW said there is still much to be done to ensure the plan is followed through.
“There is still endless work to hold IU to the goals of the climate action plan and ensure transparency and equity, but this victory exemplifies the power of collective action,” the post said.
The plan provides six recommendation categories to reduce the university’s carbon emissions: renewables, utility grid, infrastructure, behavior, financing and implementation.
IU will collaborate with Indiana utilities to support overall grid decarbonization by replacing fossil fuel energy generation with renewable energy sources.
IU will aim to increase energy efficiency across their campuses by creating better heating, cooling, and energy distribution systems, and upgrading equipment as part of their infrastructure recommendations.
Their renewables recommendations include ways to implement renewable energy sources where feasible.
IU also plans to change student behavior by encouraging more shared appliances and reducing energy consumption.
The financing part of the plan will establish several mechanisms to fund all initiatives that require monetary funding. This will include money from energy savings, grant applications, as well as philanthropic, federal and state funds.
The university will also establish structures to monitor and ensure the plan’s successful realization under their implementation category, including implementation committees consisting of students, staff and subject matter experts.
“I am grateful to the students, faculty and staff who served on the Climate Action Committee sharing their time, expertise and passion for sustainability to develop these innovative recommendations,” Whitten said in a statement to IU Today. “Our university’s new comprehensive and thoughtful plan will create a legacy that benefits the people of Indiana for many generations.”
Whitten and Climate Action Planning Committee Chair Thomas A. Morrison did not immediately respond to requests for comment. More information about the plan and updates can be found at go.iu.edu/climate.