Thursday, June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

Dear OSU Community Members,

Oregon State University is actively engaged in efforts to contribute to a more sustainable future by achieving carbon neutrality throughout the university.

Achieving carbon neutrality within OSU’s operations and activities supports the university’s mission; is in keeping with OSU’s global leadership in climate science teaching, research and community engagement; and contributes to the goals of Strategic Plan 4.0: “Transformation, Excellence and Impact.” The university recognizes the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment and is committed as a 21st-century R1 university to eliminate its own carbon contributions. We will do this in tangible, transparent and effective ways while also contributing to climate science teaching and research that will serve the health of the planet.

The university has adopted OSU’s Path to Carbon Neutrality to guide our carbon reduction strategies going forward. This plan has been informed by significant engagement throughout the university community, including with faculty, staff and students, and by benchmarking with peer universities nationally. The plan includes a set of nine actions, including prioritizing energy efficiency; emphasizing on-site renewable energy production and the use of off-site renewable energy; reducing and eliminating the use of natural gas over time; promoting sustainable transportation options, including local commuting and reduced university-related air travel; and prioritizing direct emissions as much as possible while also evaluating carbon offset potential from university lands.

Although this plan prioritizes action on the Corvallis campus, a commitment to carbon reduction is being acted on and supported university-wide. For example, in developing the OSU-Cascades campus, we have committed to net zero goals for energy, water usage and waste management. The university’s Path to Carbon Neutrality is in alignment with objectives of the Faculty Senate Carbon Commitment Committee. Meanwhile, student leaders and clubs in Corvallis and Bend are actively engaged in many sustainability endeavors.

However, much more remains to be done. 

Implementing the Path’s nine actions will be a dynamic and continual effort that will be regularly updated and measured. Success will require university funds to continue to be identified and committed, and for each of us to be engaged.

I am confident that through this plan and our own individual actions, as well as through faculty research and scholarship, OSU will achieve its carbon neutrality goals and continue to be a climate science leader within Oregon and beyond. Please join me and others engaged in this essential work.

Together, we can take the right actions for each other, as well as for future generations and the planet.

Becky Johnson
Interim President