Presidents of colleges and universities from California to Maine, including community colleges, four-year colleges, and multi-campus research institutions, are joining together to endorse a new initiative to focus on climate adaptation and resilience on campuses.
The initiative, called the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC), was developed by the non-profit organization, Second Nature, which leads efforts on college campuses to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society by transforming higher education. Its flagship program, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), has gained 684 signatory colleges and universities. While ACUPCC focuses on greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon neutrality, ARC will focus on climate adaptation and resilience.
“We recognize that there is an increasing likelihood of damaging climate impacts to many of our colleges,” said Anne Waple, Executive Director (acting) for Second Nature. “ARC will provide a platform for developing flexible and state-of-the-art guidance and support for assessment, learning, implementation, and evaluation with respect to adaptation and resilience, and will do so in full partnership with communities. As a nation, we have a lot of work to do to adapt to ongoing climate changes, and as higher education invests in its own resilience, it can also play a critical role in helping all of society prepare for, and even thrive in, the coming decades. This is the driving idea behind ARC.”
ARC is working with other groups to incorporate the latest science into climate preparedness planning for campuses and communities, and will also work with the ongoing National Climate Assessment network to help fill gaps in knowledge, including how to effectively gauge our continued progress towards resilience.
In addition, ARC is partnering with the Resilient Communities for America (RC4A), a national initiative that is mobilizing local elected officials from cities, counties, and towns. ARC and RC4A will work together to encourage strong partnership between communities and campuses, and to share tools, information resources, and successes to support and highlight improved resilience.