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Charge to the Augustana Climate Change Task Force

President Steve Bahls, September 2019

As part of the President’s Goals for 2019-2020, last May I committed to appoint a task force to advise the cabinet and the board in their efforts to “refresh environmental sustainability plans to maximize the impact of our investments on campus.” I prepared a draft charge for the Task Force on May 15, 2019, stating that I would finalize the charge in September. Based on comments received over the summer, I have finalized the charge and membership:


Co-chairs: Michael Reisner (Environmental Studies) and Kai Swanson (President’s Office)
Monica Smith (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
Jenny Burnham (Geography)
Robert Lanzerotti (Facilities)
Meg du Bray (Environmental Studies)
Josh Dyer (Physics)
Mark Schwiebert (Board of Trustees)
Tom Weigand (Board of Trustees) 
Two students appointed by the Student Government Association – Olivia Hogenkamp and Justin Verlinden
Two students from the Climate Strike Working Group – Robert Burke and Hunter Ridley


Augustana is committed to being a responsible member of the community. This commitment includes, as an organization, being a responsible steward of our environment and educating students and employees about how they can be responsible stewards individually and collectively. Augustana’s approach is to invest responsibly in environmental practices to gain the maximum evidence-based environmental return, while also being good stewards of our resources.


1. Identify ways in which the college can better foster an ongoing awareness on the part of students, faculty and staff about their environmental footprint and what actions can they take to reduce their individual carbon footprint.

2. Create an inventory of the college’s environmental initiatives and practices. Conduct an environmental review of our practices and procedures (including payback periods for investing in technology that aids environmental sustainability). Make recommendations for improvements consistent with the above philosophy and within our resources.

3. Consider how the following programs might be improved in a cost-effective way:

  • Augustana recycling program
  • Commitment to plant native species
  • Reduction of invasive species in Augustana’s natural areas
  • Augustana environmental studies house
  • Augustana’s effort to reduce erosion
  • Set-points for thermostats at Augustana
  • Augie Acres
  • Augie hydroponic garden
  • Converting equipment to run on bio-diesel from recycled cooking oil

4. Assess Augustana’s environmental footprint.

5. Identify the most effective actions that the college might take to reduce its environmental footprint per $100,000 invested. Assess how various initiatives might reduce the footprint. Address sources of funding for initiatives.

6. Evaluate the various environmental standards for new buildings and analyze the pros and cons of each standard.

7. Explore the feasibility of a Sustainability Revolving Fund; e.g., 50% of expected savings from improved environmental initiatives is invested in other environmental initiatives likely to produce similar or greater savings. (See the University of New England Green Revolving Fund.)

8. Recommend whether Augustana should establish a Campus Sustainability Grants program similar to that of Mount Holyoke. Assess whether there are outside grants available to start the fund.

9. Suggest ideas for Augustana’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

10. Consider whether and how the Campus Sustainability Committee might be re-energized (e.g., modified charge, structure, etc.).

11. Outline an annual environmental report to the community.

Due date of Task Force Report: April 1, 2020, to the Faculty Council, President’s Administrative Cabinet and Board of Trustees. We hope that several initiatives can be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2020.