To: OSU faculty, staff and students

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

December 6, 2019

OSU faculty, staff and students,

You may be aware that the OSU Sunrise Club held a climate strike today on the Corvallis campus, with students calling for Oregon State University to take further action on its carbon neutrality plan without raising student tuition.

We share others’ concerns about changes occurring in the world’s climate and the impacts being felt globally.

A great deal work is underway at OSU to reduce the contributions that the university’s operations make on climate change. Yet, we recognize we have much more to do – and we agree we must accelerate our efforts – to fulfill a university mandate adopted in 2009 for OSU to be carbon neutral by 2025.

We are making progress in important and measured ways.

From 2008 to 2018, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions on our Corvallis campus by 12%, despite significant growth in enrollment and the number of Corvallis campus buildings. On a per-student and per-square-foot basis of building space, this equates to a 41% reduction in emissions. As well, OSU’s Board of Trustees has directed administrators to not invest university cash assets in fossil fuel-related securities; we have plans for the expansion of OSU-Cascades that call for a net zero campus; and UHDS dining centers and catering departments are utilizing locally sourced foods and conserving waste.

Here are few other examples of related efforts within OSU:

  • In 2018, the Faculty Senate formed the Committee on the Carbon Commitment entitled C3 to serve as a network to promote carbon reducing actions within faculty. The OSU Sustainability Office supports this committee and its four working groups. The office also provides support and engagement with ASOSU and other student groups on climate action.
  • The university is developing a transportation demand management program to reduce daily single occupancy vehicle trips by commuters to the Corvallis campus from 32% to 20%.
  • In 2016, we launched our Green Office Certification program to give employees tips and incentives to be more sustainable in the workplace.
  • In 2011 and 2012, we installed 16 electric vehicle chargers on the Corvallis campus and invested another $800,000 in building efficiency, primarily within lighting and heating and cooling systems.
  • The Corvallis campus Energy Center came online in 2010 and reduced total carbon emissions on the Corvallis campus by 16%.
  • OSU’s commitments to addressing climate change and the university’s own carbon footprint are called out in the university’s Strategic Plan 4.0. To learn more about OSU’s climate action efforts, please visit the Sustainability at OSU website or contact brandontrelstad@oregonstate.edu, who helps guide OSU’s sustainability efforts.

At the same time, many outstanding OSU researchers are working to better understand climate change and address its impacts. Our faculty are among leading worldwide voices calling for change in the impacts society is making on the global environment and identifying real solutions.

All of this work and progress is not enough.

Collectively, achieving our ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 will require additional investments of our resources and increased engagement of stakeholders throughout OSU. Our efforts must be strategic and deliberate in fully addressing our own impact on climate change, maintaining our affordability, and providing an excellent learning, research, and outreach and engagement environment for students, faculty and staff.

To move forward with greater immediacy and results, I have asked all deans, academic and university administrative leaders to consider how they and their colleges and units are addressing climate action in the conduct of their daily business. And consider how to grow those efforts.    

Meanwhile, I ask each of you to become engaged in the university efforts by visiting the Sustainability at OSU website.

Sincerely,

Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President