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USF advances action on climate planning with new grant funding

The grant from Second Nature will allow USF to unify and streamline efforts to address climate change while creating a more sustainable environment.

The grant from Second Nature will allow USF to unify and streamline efforts to address climate change while creating a more sustainable environment.

The University of South Florida is one of 10 colleges and universities nationwide that will receive pro bono consulting to help advance climate action planning and projects on campus.

The grant from Second Nature, a Boston-based non-profit whose mission is to accelerate climate action in and through higher education, will allow USF to unify and streamline efforts to address climate change while creating a more sustainable environment. In particular, the work will help establish a university-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal, align sustainability priorities while tracking carbon emissions across all three campuses and combine efforts and resources that lead to a singular vision for achieving carbon neutrality.

“The University of South Florida is grateful for this support and to join our college and university partners in advancing climate action plans,” said USF President Steve Currall. “Stewardship of our natural environment is a core value at USF, and a particular focus of our waterfront campus in St. Petersburg. Through study, service and action, we are committed to carbon neutrality and being a leader in sustainability.”

The goal of Second Nature’s grant effort is to help campuses reduce and eventually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions through climate action planning and shifting to renewable power, while minimizing operating costs. At each campus, the technical assistance will be worth between $7,500 and $10,000. The pro bono consulting opportunities are being provided and sponsored by Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D) and CustomerFirst Renewables.

“B&D would like to thank each of the finalists for the outstanding quality in submissions. The range of institutions and specificity of their plans made it abundantly clear that aggressive climate action is the next frontier for colleges and universities working to control expenditures and operate responsibly,” said Paul Brailsford, co-founder and CEO of Brailsford & Dunlavey.

The pro bono opportunity - announced last fall - was open to higher education institutions that are affiliated with Second Nature as Climate Leadership Network signatories and/or University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) members. Second Nature received nearly 50 applications which were reviewed and selected by a committee.

“USF has an extremely strong portfolio of climate change-related research,” said Tom Frazer, dean of the USF College of Marine Science and chair of the USF Sustainability Steering Committee. “While we need to continue our mission of delivering actionable science, research alone is not enough. We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on each of our campuses and working with our community partners to make a difference – and that’s why we’re excited about this opportunity with Second Nature.”

USF has assumed a leadership role over the years on climate change research while taking action to reduce impacts in a region that is vulnerable to extreme storms, flooding and sea level rise. Recently, Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls visited the St. Petersburg campus to announce a broad legislative package that would designate $100 million per year to address the effects of flooding and sea level rise in the state. The university will play an integral role in the research needed to provide solutions to flooding and sea level rise challenges to create a more resilient state.

The other winning colleges and universities included: University of Arizona, Carleton College, Davidson College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Lewis & Clark College, Miami University, College of New Jersey, State University of New York: SUNY Cortland and University at Albany, and the University of the South.

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