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Earth Week 2024: Dartmouth Commits to Decarbonization

April was a month to remember as Dartmouth celebrated a huge commitment to sustainability on our campus and beyond!

Written by Sustainable Dartmouth Intern, Izzy Cheney '24

At Dartmouth, we don’t just celebrate Earth Day—we host a whole month’s worth of exciting events that center climate, food, energy, community, and more. This Earth Month in particular was momentous with the Earth Day announcement of the Dartmouth Climate Collaborative, an institution-wide effort to connect, strengthen, and leverage Dartmouth’s existing work on climate and sustainability, starting with a $500 million investment in climate-related capital improvements. On Tuesday evening, students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate the announcement and bring attention to all the invaluable work that students, professors, Dartmouth Dining, researchers, FO&M, our very own staff and students here at the Sustainability Office, and more have been doing over the past several years to make the energy transition a reality at Dartmouth. 

Professor Erich Osterberg, Climate Collaborative Dinner

Photo by Tobin Yates '26

During Tuesday’s dinner, we heard from Erich Osterberg, Professor in Earth Sciences and chair of the Upper Valley Adaptation Working Group; Kate Yeo ‘25, climate organizer and COP youth delegate; Solange Acosta-Rodríguez ‘24, Energy Justice Clinic researcher, student worker and activist; and Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor and Chair of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Department. Each speaker shared the ways that climate change affects them and their communities, what motivates their work—whether teaching, organizing, or researching—and what Dartmouth’s Climate Commitment means to them.

While Dartmouth’s Climate Commitment and Tuesday’s celebratory dinner were historic, so many other exciting events happened on campus this April. Fossil Free Dartmouth hosted a panel discussion on fossil fuels in academia, addressing questions about the challenges of the energy transition and what it means for research funded by fossil fuel companies to focus on renewables. Students from the Sustainability Office and the Dartmouth Bikes Team joined Hanover’s Springtime Spectacular with info on Dartmouth’s own energy transition for curious community members. On Earth Day, Fossil Free Dartmouth also threw a festival on the Green with lots of different campus groups and organizations, speeches, popcorn, and live music. The Green was buzzing with people eager to learn about what Dartmouth was up to this April. And of course, it would be remiss to not mention the baby goats of Rosi Kerr ‘98, Director of Sustainability, who joined students on the Green and at the Organic Farm several times this month. They brought delight and togetherness to all who witnessed them, an essential element to climate, energy, and sustainability work here at Dartmouth. 

Rosi's newly adopted baby goats brought joy to many on the Green!

Photo by Robert Gill

We rounded off Earth Month with a visit from the Monastics of the Plum Village tradition, founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, who furthered Dartmouth mindfulness efforts. They led well-attended morning meditations in Rollins Chapel, offering students, faculty, staff, and community members a chance to start their day centered, refreshed, and grateful. Throughout the week, the monastics gave several dharma talks, including one on climate hope and resilience, followed by a mindful dinner. This experience brought a sense of calm and presentness to what is often a stress-filled and jam-packed schedule at Dartmouth. It also created feelings of hope and joy that will help us engage fully in the work that lies ahead as we pursue Dartmouth's climate goals. The monastics even met the baby goats and visited the O-Farm during their stay as well. 

Mindfulness and Climate Talk by the visiting Monastics of the Deer Park Monastery

Photo by Tobin Yates ‘26

We’re already back to work here in Hanover on our way to accomplishing our many ambitious climate and sustainability goals, reinvigorated by the moments of celebration that occurred this month. We’re appreciative of all of you for your engagement in our work and eagerness to hold Dartmouth accountable and make our community better. The vision espoused in the Dartmouth Climate Collaborative is a testament to the power of our collective work towards a better Dartmouth. 


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