WORCESTER, Mass. – Feb. 5, 2009 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will participate in today’s National Teach-In on Global Warming, which will engage more than one million Americans in a solutions-driven dialogue to improve the environment.
Educators and students in colleges, universities, high schools, and middle schools; faith groups, civic organizations, and businesses will participate in focused conversations about the critical environmental policy decisions that affect the planet. The Teach-In’s ultimate goals include cutting carbon 40 percent below today’s levels by 2020, creating millions of green jobs, revitalizing the nation’s economy through America’s leadership in renewable technology research and development, and promoting carbon neutral power.
"Through the National Teach-In, WPI’s participating faculty members are helping our students learn about critical environmental issues and ways that they can contribute to a sustainable future," said WPI Provost John Orr, who leads the university’s President’s Task Force on Sustainability. "WPI prides itself on addressing sustainability throughout our academic offerings as well as in our buildings, policies, and philosophy. We engage our students in the broad implications of sustainability so that they can graduate from WPI armed with knowledge and a passion for making a difference."
Last year, WPI established the President’s Task Force on Sustainability in an effort to strengthen the "sustainability sensibility" in the university’s academic, research, and administrative endeavors. That commitment can be seen throughout campus, and throughout the city of Worcester. In 2007, WPI’s Board of Trustees voted to adopt a policy calling for all future buildings on campus to be LEED certifiable by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in environmental design process. Following that action, WPI installed last summer the first “living green roof” in Worcester, atop the new residence hall, East Hall, which is on track to be the university’s second LEED-certified building. In 2006, WPI opened the campus’s first LEED-certified building, Bartlett Center, home of the admissions and financial aid offices. Closer to downtown, Gateway Park LLC, a partnership between WPI and Worcester Business Development Corp., helped transform an area of abandoned buildings and contaminated ground into a thriving, award-winning site for life sciences research and economic development. WPI has also expanded its recycling program, brought Zipcar (an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping a car on campus) to campus, and has started offering reserved parking spots for Hybrid vehicles.
Academically, WPI launched a bachelor of arts program in environmental studies last fall. The new major is designed to educate future environmental professionals with the knowledge and skills that will cross boundaries and foster thought leadership in this important area. In addition, WPI offers an environmental engineering major and a global energy course. The university’s commitment to sustainability can also be seen in the project work being done by WPI students and professors at sites around the globe.