Resolution to Recommend Signing the Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment

Resolved: That the Academic Senate of Sonoma State University affirm the importance of environmental justice and environmental sustainability, including carbon neutrality and climate resilience.

Resolved: That the Academic Senate affirm the importance of being a national model for sustainable practices in all dimensions of its operations.

Resolved: That the Academic Senate recommend that President Judy K. Sakaki sign the Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment as soon as the campus leadership deems prudent for a successful implementation of the commitment.

Resolved: That the Academic Senate transmit this resolution and its rationale to SSU President, Judy K. Sakaki.

The Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment provides a comprehensive roadmap for higher education institutions with "a systems approach to mitigating and adapting to a changing climate… (by) integrating sustainability into education curriculum, expanding research efforts and public reporting, and creating and revising an action plan." The resilience goals of their Climate Commitment Program mirror our bioregional mission "…to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change."

Meeting the Climate Commitment Program requirements will lower our carbon footprint (and associated costs), increase the resilience of the campus itself, and will help SSU fulfill its vision to "be a national model for public higher education…(and prepare students) to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to make an impact in the community and the world."

The Climate Commitment supports Sonoma State University’s duty to our local environment and local population by requiring the University to “create and support a joint campus-community task force to ensure alignment of the plan with community goals and to facilitate joint action”.  Importantly, working towards carbon neutrality and environmental resilience promotes environmental and social justice.

The Academic Senate Resolution on Sustainability at Sonoma State University, passed on February 21, 2008, states that the "University Presidents Climate Leadership Commitment can serve as guiding documents to Sonoma State University in (sustainable development,…respect and care for the greater community of life in all its diversity, including protection and restoration of the earth's ecosystems)" and that SSU "aspires to be a national and international model for sustainable practices in all dimensions of its operations (teaching, research, business and finance)".  Further, the resolution resolved that the "Academic Senate support actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum (including campus facilities and grounds as learning laboratories) and other educational experiences for all students."

The Academic Senate Resolution on the Establishment of Structure to Support Sustainability Efforts, passed on April 26, 2012, created the Sustainability Executive Committee "to advance sustainability goals identified in SSU strategic plans".  SSU President, Judy K. Sakaki, endorsed Building Our Future @ SSU - Strategic Plan 2025 on June 1, 2018, which commits SSU to "diversity and social justice; sustainability and environmental inquiry; connectivity and community engagement; and adaptability and responsiveness to achieve student success, academic excellence and innovation, leadership cultivation and transformative impact."

California Senate Bill No. 100 (SB100), signed into law on September 10, 2018, commits that "100% of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045…(come from) renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources". As a state agency, this includes Sonoma State University operations. To date, Presidents of more than 600 universities across the United States, including 15 of the 23 CSU campuses, have signed onto the Second Nature roadmap.  The Sustainability Executive Committee voted to send its highest recommendation for President Sakaki to sign the Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment, believing that "the steps outlined in the assessment are the road map we need to functionally establish sustainability as a core value at SSU.”

Unanimously approved by the Senate