Bowdoin Launches Ambitious Plan for a Fossil Fuel-Free Campus by 2042; Includes $100 Million Investment in Campus Infrastructure

Clayton Rose quote

“Until then, we have a clear path that will allow us to make meaningful progress every day and assure that we can take advantage of the best strategies and technologies as they become available. Our team is poised to be aggressive in implementing this plan for immediate impact, and we will accelerate the timeline if the right opportunity presents itself.”

Although transportation and waste make up a relatively small component of Bowdoin’s carbon emissions, the College expects to transition to electric vehicles, reduce trip generation, and consider new strategies to reduce single-vehicle employee commuting.

In addition, faculty and staff will be encouraged to seek online opportunities for conferences and professional development to reduce the impact of air travel. Continued efforts at waste reduction also offer an opportunity for creative thinking and community engagement.

“It is exciting to be ‘walking the talk’ on the issues of climate mitigation and resiliency that students are learning about in the classroom,” said Keisha Payson, Bowdoin’s associate director of sustainability.

“The work in this plan will provide great opportunities to connect our real-world energy transition to Bowdoin’s curriculum.” 

“Sustainable Bowdoin 2042” includes among its goals raising the visibility of existing climate and sustainability curriculum, facilitating additional curriculum development in this area, advancing interdisciplinary research, and assuring that the community has access to understandable data and information on sustainability efforts—both at Bowdoin and beyond.

It also aspires to build upon the College’s substantial track record as an early adopter of sustainable building designs (e.g., Passive House, mass timber, net-zero) and set an example for others in the state of Maine and beyond to follow.

These are the kind of innovative and high-impact sustainability efforts that earned the College top recognition in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2021 Campus Index report.

Bowdoin will report out on progress against the plan on a periodic basis and will update both the goals and implementation tactics as progress is made and as new technologies emerge.

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