September 20, 2019

OSU community members,

Oregon State University supports campus, community and global efforts – including those occurring Sept. 20-27 by the Corvallis Climate Action Alliance and people worldwide – to raise awareness of the climate change crisis facing our world and society.

We recognize the responsibility and importance of the university’s own teaching, faculty research and discovery, and our community engagement activities to address climate change. As well, the university recognizes its own role in moving to achieve institutional carbon neutrality within its facilities.

In all that we do, we will be guided by the university’s Strategic Plan 4.0 and its four goals:

  • Preeminence in research, scholarship, and innovation.
  • Providing a transformative education that is accessible to all learners.
  • Providing significant and visible impact in Oregon and beyond.
  • And offering a culture of belonging, collaboration and innovation.

Within SP4.0, we have committed to achieve 20 strategic actions from 2019-20. Included within those actions is a commitment to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

We are making significant progress in that regard. From 2008-19 – a period that saw significant enrollment growth and the construction of more than two dozen new buildings and the renovation of many others  OSU was able to reduce its carbon emissions. On a per-student and per square-foot -basis, carbon emissions have been reduced approximately 41%.

In 2017 alone, the university’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased 6.25%. Over the past several years, we have implemented numerous measures to promote reduced single-occupancy vehicle trips to campus. Our Board of Trustees has directed OSU to not invest university cash assets in fossil fuel-related securities. Our residential dining centers and catering departments are leaders in utilizing locally sourced foods and conserving waste. Meanwhile, our plans for the expansion of OSU-Cascades call for a net zero campus as it targets using only as much energy as the campus produces.

Yet, we must accelerate OSU’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will do so strategically, while balancing our financial resources to provide an excellent environment for students, faculty and staff to learn, conduct research, work and achieve the university’s mission as a land grant university.

OSU researchers are paving the way globally to better understand climate change and address its impacts.

This research concerns our oceans, atmosphere, forests, farmlands, the economy, communities, transportation systems, energy generation and energy use, manufacturing and many other issues. Meanwhile, distinguished OSU professors Jane Lubchenco, an environmental scientist, and Bill Ripple, a conservation scientist, are among the world’s leading voices calling for society to reverse the impacts that it is making on our global environment.

For more information on climate change research being conducted at OSU, please visit the websites of the Office of Research, our colleges, including extensive work being done in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and research underway within the university’s research institutes and centers.

We each have a role as members of a global community to address climate change. Participating in events associated with this week’s worldwide climate action initiative are one way. Here is a link to activities being organized locally by the Corvallis Climate Action Alliance. In Central Oregon, please learn more and become involved in the city of Bend climate action plan.

Please also become personally involved with your own daily actions and with the university’s strategic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more about what you might do, please contact brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu or visit the university’s carbon neutrality website.

As one of two land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, I am confident that OSU will serve as a preeminent leader in sustainability in its teaching, research, community engagement and its own operations.

Thank you for committing to do your part. I look forward to working with you to address essential climate matters globally and at Oregon State University.

Sincerely,

 

Edward J. Ray
President