|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
Center for Sustainability Education
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:
Dickinson College is assisting Carlisle Borough in Pennsylvania to develop a local climate action plan. In 2019, students and faculty produced an inventory of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions for Carlisle, after which the college advocated for adoption by the Borough of a resolution to set emission reduction targets consistent with the Paris climate agreement and to develop a climate action plan to achieve the targets. The resolution passed in May 2020. Following passage of the resolution, Dickinson is now working with Carlisle’s Climate Action Commission to evaluate emission reduction strategies and develop a climate action plan.
In 2018, Dickinson convened community stakeholders to participate in the Resilience Dialogue program of the U.S. Global Change Research Program with the aim of increasing local resilience to climate and other stresses. Through a series of dialogues facilitated by Dickinson, community members explored issues of vulnerability, risk and resilience in our region. The conversations drew from an assessment of community resilience that was produced by Dickinson students and faculty using the City Resilience Index of the Rockefeller Foundation and from a study of local climate risks conducted by Dickinson students and faculty in partnership with the Cumberland County Planning Department . Outcomes of the Resilience Dialogues and assessments of local resilience and climate risks include integration of community resilience into an update of Carlisle’s comprehensive plan and integration of climate change into Cumberland County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Carlisle Resilience Dialogues report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TjVN3rf7QswL_bLlA6TjrJdykUfCoaC-/view
NACUBO article that includes the Carlisle-Dickinson resilience assessment: https://www.businessofficermagazine.org/features/joining-forces/
Other examples of Dickinson advocating for local sustainability-related policies include:
• Dickinson's president, as well as many students and employees, speaking at a Carlisle Borough Council meeting in fall 2016 in favor of a human rights ordinance to extend discrimination protections to previously unprotected classes of citizens; the ordinance passed.
• Supporting Carlisle Borough in several successful applications for federal and state grants for redevelopment of Brownfield sites in Carlisle.
• Advocating for measures to calm traffic and make Carlisle more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and funding a traffic engineering study that contributed to Borough Council approval of the Carlisle Road Diet and subsequent funding of the Road Diet by PennDOT.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:
Dickinson is an active participant in Pennsylvania’s Local Climate Action Program (LCAP), which promotes and supports municipal, county and regional government entities in developing climate action plans. 40 government entities from across the state participate in LCAP. Building on our climate action planning collaboration with Carlisle Borough, Dickinson entered into a similar partnership with Cumberland County and Shippensburg University in summer 2020. A greenhouse gas inventory was prepared for the County in fall 2020 and Dickinson and Shippensburg are now assisting the County Planning Department to develop a County climate action plan. We share lessons and approaches with all the LCAP participant communities through regular online meetings and online community portal. Dickinson and Shippensburg, working with the Cumberland Conservation Collaborative, the South Mountain Partnership and other regional conservation groups, organized a community climate action forum in 2020 and 2021 that included a successful and well attended series of virtual community meetings that raised understanding in the region of the needs and opportunities for local climate action, engaged members of the public in climate action planning in Carlisle and Cumberland County, and encouraged leaders of other communities in our region to embark on climate action planning for their own boroughs, townships and counties.
In February 2021,Dickinson College President Margee Ensign signed a letter to Pennsylvania legislators advocating for state legislation to establish appliance energy efficiency standards.
In September 2020, Dickinson College President Margee Ensign joined with others to sign a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf asking him to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon market that limits emissions from electric power generation in northeaster and mid-Atlantic states. President Ensign proactively contacted presidents of other colleges and universities in the state, urging them to also sign the letter.
President Ensign also signed PennEnvironment’s letter to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board supporting Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI. The letter was submitted as a public comment to the DEQ Board in response to their request for public comments to guage Pennsylvanians’ interest in joining RGGI.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:
In 2017, Dickinson joined the We Are Still In coalition, publicly opposing U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and committing to continue to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris agreement. In December 2020, we again made a public commitment to climate action by joining with others in signing the “We Are All In” call for a national mobilization on climate and recovery. Dickinson also encouraged other colleges, universities and organizations to also join the We Are Still In campaign.
Dickinson joined an amicus brief in July 2020 to support a lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeking to prevent ICE and DHS officials from enforcing the newly announced federal requirement. The Trump administration had announced unexpectedly that international students at American colleges and universities would need to attend in-person classes this year, despite the current global pandemic or risk being out of immigration status and being deported. Under this policy, international students attending U.S. colleges that had moved to all-online instruction would have to leave the U.S. or would be considered out of status. Students remaining in their home countries and taking online-only courses through U.S. colleges and universities would have their student-visa records made inactive. The lawsuit contributed to pressures that caused the Trump administration to rescind its decision.
Dickinson joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACREAL) in 2020, an alliance that brings their institutions’ presidents together help build more just and equitable campuses and societies. This includes sharing strategies, crafting joint responses to developing events, communicating stances and needs to policymakers, journalists and others as needs arise.
Dickinson is among more than 315 colleges and universities across the country to issue a collective statement on what admissions deans value in prospective students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement, "Care Counts in Crisis: College Admissions Deans Respond to COVID-19," was released nationwide by the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and aims to relieve stresses on students and their caregivers. The collective statement underscores the importance of self-care, service to others and family support. It also explains academic work matters, but the deans recognize many students are facing obstacles to academic achievement due to the pandemic. The deans also convey that no student will be disadvantaged for not engaging in extracurricular activities during this time, including internships, camps and summer jobs.
Dickinson College President Margee Ensign joined presidents of 70 other colleges and universities in signing a letter opposing the DOE's investigation of Princeton that was triggered by Princeton’s president publicly recognizing that historic racism has been embedded in the institution over time. The letter states “It is outrageous that the Department of Education is using our country’s resources to investigate an institution that is committed to becoming more inclusive by reckoning with the impact in the present of our shared legacies of racism.”
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
Dickinson is a registered observer organization of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has sent delegations of students and faculty to COPS 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 23 that have advocated for international action on climate change. At COP 21 in Paris, Dickinson organized a well-attended event titled “Climate Action - Engaging the Next Generation” that featured Bill McKibben, James Balog, John Adams, Mark Jacobson and several Dickinson students as speakers. https://www.dickinson.edu/info/20052/sustainability/2471/climate_education_and_research/3
Dickinson College has advocated internationally for sustainability as a signatory of the United Nations Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and the Talloires Declaration.
Dickinson joined the U.S. chapter of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) when it was launched in 2018. Dickinson advocates for national and international climate change solutions through its participation in the SDSN.
Dickinson and the Institute of International Education (IIE) launched a partnership in 2020 to support professionals from government agencies, NGOs and foundations from around the world in building the skills and motivations to advance equity and inclusivity in education. https://www.dickinson.edu/news/article/4514/dickinson_college_iie_announce_innovative_new_partnership
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
• Carlisle climate action planning:
• Carlisle Resilience Dialogues report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TjVN3rf7QswL_bLlA6TjrJdykUfCoaC-/view
• NACUBO article that includes the Carlisle-Dickinson resilience assessment: https://www.businessofficermagazine.org/features/joining-forces/
• https://www.dickinson.edu/news/article/3976/dickinson_college_opposes_planned_withdrawal_from_paris_agreement_on_climate_change; https://www.wearestillin.com/
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