By: Miles Baker
On March 8, 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the University of Washington convened with U.S. Government officials on climate, sustainability, and resilience leaders. Educators from colleges and universities across the country met for a virtual forum. These stakeholders showcased how innovative ideas and actions can advance climate change efforts on college campuses while benefitting the surrounding communities and beyond. AEDE’s Distinguished Professor of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Economics and Sustainability; Faculty Director, Sustainability Institute Dr. Elena Irwin is represented Ohio State at the White House.
This forum was part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, and increase community resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts.
The forum brought together more than 800 people – including representatives from universities and colleges from nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia – to learn about success stories in campus innovations, community engagement, and inter-campus coordination, as well as new opportunities created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.
Three panel discussions showcased key themes, including:
- Starting with trust as the essential ingredient for successful campus and community partnerships;
- Making sure underserved communities that are the most vulnerable to climate impacts are at the forefront of developing and deploying climate solutions;
- Ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills to lead in the clean industries of the future and to plan, deploy, and maintain the climate-smart infrastructure needed;
- Enabling campuses to provide essential climate extension services to states, municipalities, and indigenous communities; and
- Campus communities partnering with federal agencies to serve as proving grounds for new climate solutions and demonstrate pathways to net-zero emissions.