President Lawrence Schall, on behalf of Oglethorpe University, has joined more than 1,219 governors, mayors, business, investors, colleges and universities to declare their intent to uphold our country’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. Together, this group represents 120 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.
Under the pledge, these leaders promise to remain actively engaged with the international community to reduce the effects of global warming and transition to a clean energy economy.
“As an institution of higher learning, it is essential that we publicly affirm the scientific evidence of the human contributions to climate change” said President Schall. “We have a shared social, economic and environmental responsibility to ensure the health, security and prosperity of our students, not just today but for generations to come. By signing this pledge, we will continue to do our part to create a more sustainable community, both in Atlanta and across the globe.”In 2008, Oglethorpe established its Sustainability Initiative to coordinate and support all ongoing activities related to sustainability and to initiate and fund new activities related to preserving the environment on our campus and in our community. Oglethorpe’s participation in this pledge reaffirms its commitment to teaching and implementing sustainable practices.
This isn’t the first time Schall has acted on issues of national and international importance. Appalled by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dr. Schall started a movement in December 2012 that resulted in nearly 400 college and university presidents giving collective voice to gun safety issues. The international attention this effort received, including commendations from the White House, helped to restore the leadership role college presidents once held on politically significant issues, but for decades had abandoned. In a personal essay in 2013, Schall asked “How we can expect college students to speak out if we [college presidents] cannot do so ourselves?” His effort, College Presidents for Gun Safety, has since inspired leaders in higher education to take a stand on other issues of global importance, including protections for undocumented students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and now the Paris Agreement.