Committee Spotlight: President’s Committee on Sustainability


Some may know that Emerson has a sustainability coordinator—Amy Elvidge—who is leading the charge to make Emerson more sustainable. But others may not be aware that there is a campus-wide President’s Committee on Sustainability.

The committee was created after President Emerita Jacqueline Liebergott signed the ACUPCC (American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment) in 2007. The committee, whose establishment was a requirement of becoming a signatory, helped draft the College’s climate action plan.

Since then, the President’s Committee on Sustainability has continued to work on solutions to meet the requirements of the ACUPCC and promote sustainability on campus and beyond. Some of the committee’s past initiatives have included:

  • Curriculum enhancement, including the expansion of sustainability topics and courses
  • The removal of plastic five-gallon water bottles and individual water bottle sales on campus in exchange for filtered water fountains and reusable bottles
  • Trayless dining facilities, which drastically cut back on water and energy use
  • Composting to reduce waste and reuse valuable organic material
  • Sustainability awareness programs including RecycleMania, Earth Hour, and intercollegiate events

The committee is currently working on reducing the amount of waste that is produced on campus. Committee members have started a beta project to remove waste bins from faculty and staff offices in exchange for shared bin locations. This cuts back on plastic waste bags and encourages more single-stream recycling.

Other topics at recent meetings include office composting, expansion of the K-cup recycling program, and a system to offset Emerson’s air travel emissions. Air travel emissions is an important topic for the committee, because air travel accounts for a very substantial amount of Emerson’s carbon footprint.

True to the original mission, the President’s Committee on Sustainability has the following goals:

  • Coordinate, enhance, and promote Emerson’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and pursue climate neutrality
  • Promote local and global environmental education and awareness
  • Institutionalize sustainability into the fabric of the College community

The committee members are: Ashley Tarbet DeStefano, Karen Dickinson, Sharon Duffy, Amy Elvidge, Joan Fiore, Seth Grue, Jon Honea, Nancy Howell, Joseph Knoll, Heather Kurtz, Kathleen McLaughlin, Natalia Meneses, John-Albert Moseley, Robert Nesson, Duncan Pollock, Diana Potter, Margaret Rogan, Jonathan Satriale, and Douglas Struck.

To submit a sustainabilty request to the committee, use this form.

Jill Davidson (Academic Affairs)