Skip to main content

Connecticut College honored as environmental leader

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Connecticut College is one of eight organizations and individuals across the state recognized as Climate Change Leaders by Gov. M. Jodi Rell at an awards ceremony May 12. Connecticut College was chosen to receive the 2009 Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award for its innovative efforts to address climate change.

Peggy Harlow, a 1987 graduate of Connecticut College, nominated the college for its ongoing commitment to offset and reduce the college's carbon footprint. Harlow cited the college for offsetting nearly 100 percent of the college's electricity use with the purchase of 100 percent wind Renewable Energy Certificates, for its efforts in green construction and renovation utilizing LEED guidelines and for President Leo I. Higdon Jr.'s ongoing dedication to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, of which he is a charter signatory.

Accepting the award on behalf of the college was Economics Professor Gerald Visgilio, chair of the college's Environmental Model Committee - a standing college committee made up of students, faculty and staff responsible for developing programs and policies that integrate environmental sustainability into all aspects of campus life. Harlow, along with Amy Cabaniss, campus environmental coordinator, also attended the ceremony.

"The College community has been very proactive in taking steps to conserve energy and undertake mitigation measures. We're trying to do our part; it's an honor to be recognized for these efforts," Cabaniss said.

The College is also being honored with this award for its campus-wide comprehensive environmental sustainability baseline assessment of all aspects of operations at the college, the lease of two Zip cars to reduce the number of vehicles on campus and a student-driven feasibility study of small wind power potential on campus. The College has tracked its energy usage since 1990 and was one of the first schools in the country to offer an environmental studies major, which was then called human ecology.

Since 1999, Connecticut College has worked with farmers in Costa Rica through Reforest the Tropics (Mystic, Conn.) to plant enough fast growing trees to sequester enough carbon to offset the carbon dioxide emitted annually by the campus's college center. That same year, a 10kW array of solar panels was installed on a residence hall at Connecticut College to offset the power required by a boiler plant and the college's first began conducting an annual inventory of campus greenhouse gas emissions.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college's 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning.

For more information, visit

-- CC --

May 13, 2009