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“We Are Still In”:
Southern Connecticut State University Joins Leaders in U.S. Economy on Climate Declaration

Southern Connecticut State University has joined a growing coalition of over 1,200 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities from across the United States in declaring its intent to continue to ensure the United States remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. By signing an open letter to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement, these entities agree to remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

SCSU President Joe Bertolino said, "We formalized our pledge for climate action at SCSU back in 2007 when we signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. We renewed our Climate Leadership Commitment in 2015, and added climate resilience planning to carbon mitigation. SCSU will continue to aggressively pursue carbon reduction, as we have for the last decade, because saving energy, reducing waste, and seeking clean renewable energy sources is financially sound, environmentally beneficial, and a critical pathway for improving community health and well being locally, regionally, and globally.”

Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations, added, "We're proud to join such a large coalition of state and local governments, corporations, investors, foundations, and other colleges and universities and lend our collective voice in support of climate action. We have been reducing greenhouse gas emissions at SCSU for a long time -- even with the addition of nearly a million square feet of built space, our greenhouse gas emissions are 12 percent lower than what they were in 2008."

Suzanne Huminski, director of the SCSU Office of Sustainability, said, "It is empowering to see hundreds of leaders from different sectors voice dedication to addressing climate change effectively, because leadership and teamwork are very powerful drivers of successful solutions. And while there is no question of the importance of leadership informed by science, it is equally important that every single one of us participates individually: Driving less or driving differently, taking advantage of energy efficiency technology for our homes, and installing clean, renewable energy sources. All the solutions we need are readily available. The cost of delay is too high to wait."

Together, the leaders who signed the “We Are Still In” joint letter are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris Agreement about the continued commitment of the United States to ambitious action on climate. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America’s emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement.

Signatories include leaders from 125 cities, nine states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Participating cities and states represent 120 million Americans and contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy, and include Oregon and cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Houston as well as smaller cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Dubuque, Iowa. SCSU is one of a mixture of private universities, state schools and community colleges, both small and large, that have added their institutions to the statement.

The signers understand that the Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity and that accelerating the United States’ clean energy transition is an opportunity to create jobs, spur innovation, promote trade and ensure American competitiveness. By declaring that “we are still in,” the signatories are putting the best interests of their constituents, customers, students and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.

To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit

 Urban Oasis

SCSU offers new undergraduate major: Environmental Systems and Sustainability


Ongoing Programs

Compost HappensComposting

"Compost Happens!" is a student-run pilot composting program that launched in November 2013. A variety of offices, departments, and students across the campus are participating in the NECSF mingrant-funded program. The mission is to demonstrate the ease and cleanliness of composting within a densely populated area.

Food scraps are collected from 10 locations around campus 3 times a week and brought over to the garden (located behind Davis Hall) for composting. The nutrient-rich scraps are placed in one of three aerated tumbling bins. This pilot programs was set to end at the end of the Fall 2013 semester, but due to it's enormous success it is still on-going. From November 2013 - November 2015 over 1,000 pounds of food scraps have been diverted from the waste stream for use in the organic campus garden.


Recyclemania is an annual friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collected the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of trash per capita, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. With each week's reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more. To learn more about Recyclemania and see how our efforts progress, follow us on Facebook. To learn more about Recyclemania click here.

America Recycles Day

In November, an information table is set up to celebrate America Recycles Day. Students help spread awareness by manning the trash and recycling bins to demonstrate what items can be placed in the units. Giveaways like stickers and recycled key chains are handed out to everyone who stops by the table in the Adanti Student Center and took the pledge to recycle! For more information on America Recycles Day, click here.

Annual Electronic Waste Drive

Each year, the Recycling Center hosts an electronic waste drive. This allows students and staff to drop off their unwanted items such as laptops, computers, typewriters, and TV's without being charged!

National News

Click below the to see what's happening with sustainability around the world:Environmental News Network

Local Farmer's Markets

Why spend more at the grocery store? Support your community at these great local markets:
New Haven CitySeed

List of farmers markets across CT (Buy CT Grown)
List of CT farms (LocalHarvest)

Local Community Organizations

Check out these links to local community organizations that promote sustainability and ecologically-friendly activities and ways of life:

New Haven Bioregional/Transition Group
Sponsors walks, films, canoe trips, potlucks, and other events to help us connect with our natural and built environment, and to build community and local resilience.

Engages the community in growing an equitable, local food system that promotes economic development, community development and sustainable agriculture.

Urban Miners
A Hamden, CT-based organization that recycles building materials from residential and commercial sites and resells it.

Common Ground
A center for environmental learning and leadership in New Haven, Conn.  On a 20-acre site at the base of West Rock Ridge, a diverse community of children, young people, and adults cultivate habits of healthy living and sustainable environmental practice.

Solar Youth, Inc.
A New Haven-based non-profit environmental education and youth development organization.                  

A nonprofit organization of more than 400 advocates whose mission is to make the greater New Haven area friendlier and more accessible to cyclists, pedestrians, and other users of non-motorized transportation.

New Haven Office of Sustainability
Helping groups and individuals in the greater New Haven area to create together a sustainable community.

CT NOFA - Connecticut Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association
An independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the practices of ecologically sound farming and gardening, and to the development of local sustainable agriculture.

1000 Friends of Connecticut
Dedicated to growing a healthy economy with choice in transportation, housing and education; and respect for farmlands, open space, natural and historic resources.

Sierra Club - Connecticut Chapter
A non-profit member-supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of the natural environment by influencing public policy decisions -- legislative, administrative, legal, and electoral.

Connecticut Science Center Collaborative
Educating the people of Connecticut about climate change science, impacts and solutions.

Urban Resources Initiative
A community not-for-profit that works in conjunction with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Its mission is to foster community-based land stewardship, promote environmental education, and advance the practice of urban forestry