Goddard College Receives National Climate Leadership Award

PLAINFIELD, Vt. – Goddard College, the first low-residency college in the U.S., announced today that it has won a National Climate Leadership award from a coalition of university and college presidents.

The award, given by American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), recognizes Goddard’s leadership role in education around sustainability and climate mitigation.

The award was given by the ACUPCC and its support organization, Second Nature, a Boston-based non-profit that focuses on sustainability in higher education. With this 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, Goddard is recognized as a champion of climate mitigation for the College’s transformative guidance and commitment to a low-carbon future.

“Goddard is honored to accept this award,” said Goddard College President Dr. Barbara Vacarr. “Part of Goddard’s educational philosophy is recognizing the increasing impact of human activity on our planet’s limited resources. We are committed to thoughtful and sustainable action that increases individual and social capacity for environmental stewardship and an improved future.”

Goddard College, which launched its BA in Sustainability program in 2011, was chosen as the recipient of the award because of its aggressive sustainability initiatives and goals. The college has been working since 2007 to implement a climate action plan for its Plainfield campus with the goal of fuel carbon neutrality by 2020, and also integrates sustainability into all aspects of college activities.

The college has already made strong headway on its core sustainability initiatives focusing on energy efficiency, climate innovation and food services.

More than two-thirds of the facilities on Goddard’s Plainfield campus have been retrofitted with additional insulation, new energy-efficient windows, energy efficient lighting and efficient computing solutions. These moves have led to a 19 percent reduction in heating oil use and a 15 percent reduction in electricity use. Goddard is also reducing its consumption of heating oil by building a biomass heating facility that will take 23 oil burners offline and reduce the school’s carbon emissions by 560 tons a year.

Goddard is converting to a 100 percent local food dining hall. All baked goods are made on campus from whole wheat grown and milled in Vermont. The dining hall serves fresh organic produce from a local farm and from the campus greenhouse and garden. In addition to supporting local farms, local sourcing can mitigate greenhouse gasses and strengthen students’ connection to the environment.

The ACUPCC presents the Second Nature Climate Leadership Award annually in five categories, grouped by degree level, for schools that demonstrate innovation and leadership in climate related fields. This year’s winners also include Middlebury College, Chatham University and Oberlin College. A total of 10 schools received awards from a field of 56 nominations.

“These exemplary institutions have shown us that bold action on climate is not only possible but pragmatic,” said David Hales, president of Second Nature. “Their operational, educational and community initiatives are fueling the thought behind what is both necessary and achievable in addressing climate change, and the labors of these leading institutions will benefit all of society.”

This year, the award program’s fourth, drew the most competitive pool of nominations to date. The winners were chosen by Second Nature’s board and represent the diversity of higher education institutions across the U.S.


About Goddard College

Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont, Goddard College later moved to its current Plainfield campus and was chartered in 1938 by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer low-residency adult degree programs. Now offering accredited MA, MFA, BA and BFA degree programs from the main campus in Plainfield, Vermont and sites in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington, Goddard’s low-residency education model offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on-campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.

About Second Nature

Second Nature works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society beginning with the transformation of higher education. Second Nature is the support organization of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
Learn more at: www.secondnature.org

About the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

The ACUPCC is an intensive partnership among 669 colleges and universities to accelerate the education, research, and community engagement to equip society to restabilize the earth’s climate while setting an example by eliminating net greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations.
Learn more at: http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org


Lauren Moye, Goddard College


Rima Mulla, Second Nature
rmulla@secondnature.org, 617.722.0036 ext. 220

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

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