September 26, 2008

Good Morning:

In March I signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging that Tulane would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and work toward the goal of climate neutrality. Through this commitment Tulane also agreed to conduct research and produce graduates ready to address climate change for future generations.

Now, through our newly formed Climate Commitment Advisory Committee, which consists of faculty, staff and students from throughout the university, we have identified several major areas in which we are taking concrete actions to honor this pledge.

We are making energy-efficient improvements across the university. In our residence halls we have replaced more than 4,000 light fixtures with occupancy sensors that automatically shut off lights when a room is empty.

Also, as we begin new construction on our campuses and assist in rebuilding New Orleans we are doing so in an energy efficient, sustainable way following the guidance of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building program.

We have also expanded our shuttle bus service between campuses and around town in order to reduce automobile traffic and are in the early stages of a major effort to remove vehicle traffic from the center of the Uptown campus, improving bicycle travel, walking and connections to public transportation. We are also seeking out partners and opportunities to support alternatives to driving in our community. In addition we are working on expanding our recycling efforts.

While we have a good start, we need your help to honor our commitment. Climate change is a problem that affects each of us regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status. While it is an issue of sweeping and complex nature with long-range consequences of great magnitude, it is also a problem that can be significantly ameliorated by each person through our individual choices and lifestyles. As a university community, we also have a responsibility through our research to contribute to the development of longer term, major responses to the challenge of climate change. We are making these commitments because they are the right thing to do for our community.

That's why I urge you to make your own commitment and submit your ideas for reducing the university's energy use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions to our Climate Commitment Advisory Committee at Together we can ensure that the footprint we leave behind is solid green. On a personal note, Margie and I now own a hybrid car and I traded in my other car for a more gas-efficient model. We are also exploring how we can make the president's home more energy efficient.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638