Campus Sustainability Manager invites student feedback on sustainability initiatives


Courtesy / Parker Garlough

Proposed Climate Action Plan timeline.

By Parker Garlough, Staff Writer

In preparation for the development of a new Climate Action Plan at Emerson, Campus Sustainability Manager Jennifer Lamy hosted a virtual sustainability listening session on Tuesday to spur discussion regarding the need for sustainability and future implementation of climate initiatives at Emerson.

The updated Climate Action Plan aims to clarify the path set by Emerson’s original Climate Action Plan, published in 2009, by creating concrete milestones on the path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 as well as creating a resilience plan and a waste diversion plan. It will focus on six key values: emissions and offsets, resilience, equity and justice, waste, curriculum and research, and finance.

The plan is currently in the launch stage, in which listening sessions are occurring, and working groups will soon begin to convene. These working groups are open for any Emerson community member to participate in. 

In the next stage, these groups will convene to draft recommendations, which will be compiled and refined by the Sustainability Committee and sent to an advisory board. 

The advisory board, will provide feedback on these recommendations and invite the Emerson community to an open comment period. Emerson leadership will review and approve the final plan. 

“In collaboration with our cross-campus sustainability committee, we’ve identified people that definitely need to be part of [the working groups], and then put out the open call to allow anyone to filter in,” Lamy said. 

All 14 participants in the listening session were invited to share their thoughts on sustainability at Emerson. Participants discussed climate justice, the 10-Year Strategic Plan that will soon be submitted to the City of Boston, indirect emissions produced by student air travel, and the role of storytelling in shaping public views on climate change, among other topics. 

De-nin Lee, an art historian and associate professor at Emerson, was particularly passionate about making change across campus. Her research investigates environmental concerns as they relate to the Chinese landscape, and in 2019 she edited the anthology Eco-Art History in East and Southeast Asia.

“Every communication about sustainability keeps it in the forefront of people’s minds and gives them opportunities to make long-term changes towards sustainability,” Lee said.