Brilliant Shades of Green

solar array

Solar array on the roof of Waidner-Spahr Library.

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Sustainability efforts are woven into the fabric of Dickinson’s culture, and they consistently earn recognition on the national stage. In 2017 alone, the college earned a perfect score and ranked fifth on The Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll—one of only 23 colleges and universities nationwide to make the list. It also ranked fifth on Forbes magazine’s Top Green College list, was named one of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Top-Performing Institutions for Sustainability and was honored by Sierra magazine as one of its “Coolest Schools” for environmental sustainability.

The Cumberland County Conservation District awarded its 2017 Watershed Protection Award to the College Farm, which partners with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Rodale Institute on farmsoil health and monitoring projects.

The college continues to work toward its goal of reaching zero net emissions by 2020 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions that result from heating and cooling buildings, purchasing electricity, commuting and other activities by 25 percent, compared to 2008 levels, and offsetting the remaining 75 percent. This aggressive timeline signifies a significant distinction. Dickinson will use a power purchasing agreement to install a three-megawatt solar array to the west of Dickinson Park, slated for completion by August 2018. The array is expected to generate an estimated 5.2 million kWh of electricity per year, representing 25 percent of Dickinson’s electricity consumption and eliminating approximately 2,500 metric tons of carbon annually.

Our faculty and staff also have brought sustainability and Dickinson into national and international conversations through activism, research and writing. Last January, interim President Neil Weissman joined university and college presidents and chancellors from more than 170 institutions in signing an open letter in support of participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, climate research and investment in the low carbon economy.

Read more from the winter 2018 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published January 23, 2018