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On the Road to Our Green Future 2.0: An Update

In 2017, President Emeritus Phil Hanlon commissioned Our Green Future (OGF) Report to deliver a set of recommended sustainability goals to the College. This report built upon previous sustainability strategic planning initiatives and provided guidance about goals that Dartmouth could set using the best available science to guide the College’s climate action. President Hanlon selected a subset of the recommendations and adopted them on behalf of the College. He adopted goals related to carbon emissions, energy efficiency and he committed Dartmouth to investigate our impacts related to waste and food more deeply. He also enabled the formation of a Sustainability Corps to compile critical sustainability related data in areas where data is the limiting factor for action.

President Hanlon has called upon Dartmouth to review its sustainability goals every five years, and revise them based on what science had revealed since the last goals were set. Therefore, in the fall of 2022, the Sustainability Office launched the OGF 2.0 review and revision process, with the goal of presenting to President's Hanlon and Beilock new, ambitious recommendations for the College in support of a just, sustainable future.

Building upon the foundation laid by the first OGF, the Sustainability Office convened working groups across the seven core areas of energy, food, transportation, landscape & ecology, materials & waste, water, and community. Each working group was composed of diverse stakeholders from across campus and the Upper Valley, from Dartmouth Dining directors to climate science researchers, from students engaged in sustainability work to leaders at community nonprofits. Working group members met for an in-person kickoff event, then virtually over the course of five months culminating in a generative in-person Summit. The seven working groups ultimately produced a set of draft goals and strategies in each core area for the next phase of climate action at Dartmouth. To engage even more students in the process, the Sustainability Office hosted a student forum in collaboration with Dartmouth Student Government in which 45 students gave feedback on these draft goals and strategies.

Our Sustainability Office staff was so inspired to see just how many people care deeply about Dartmouth taking strong climate action for a just and sustainable future. The conversations we had in the working group meetings were altogether energizing – people from across our community discussing, brainstorming, sharing nuanced and thoughtful perspectives – leading us to what we hope are some ambitious goals and strategies! Geisel faculty member and chair of the Community Working Group, Sarah Crockett, M.D., said of the process, “What we’ve taken away from this experience more than anything is the immense possibility that we have to increase a more equitable sustainable future where people that often don’t have their voices heard…can really be centered in this effort.”

Following the OGF Summit, Presidents Hanlon and Beilock released a joint Earth Day statement decisively committing Dartmouth to “deepening our efforts to build a more sustainable and flourishing campus.” Now, the OGF 2.0 draft recommendations are under review before they will be passed along to Dartmouth administration to review and adopt.

As we move into a new era of climate action at Dartmouth and towards the inauguration of the Beilock administration, your voice matters now more than ever! As alumni, there are countless ways to get involved – here are some ideas!

  • Take five minutes today to reach out to your alumni class representative and let them know that you think Dartmouth acting boldly on climate should be a top priority.

  • Support the Sustainability Office in its objectives! We share your vision!

  • Gather members of your class to financially support sustainable initiatives on campus – give and earmark your gift to the Organic Farm or Sustainability Office!

  • Join the Dartmouth Alumni for Climate Action group to mobilize other alums in advocating for institutional change towards a more sustainable future at Dartmouth.

  • Network with other Dartmouth alumni to build consensus that Dartmouth should act boldly on climate! The more alumni that advocate for climate action the better!

  • Share your view that Dartmouth should act boldly on climate when you come in contact with senior decision makers like friends on the Board of Trustees, President Beilock or others with impact.

And lastly, our working group members share their thoughts on the OGF process:

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