PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College is reducing its carbon footprint by urging bus ridership, recycling paper products and using environmentally friendly construction methods.
The campus ranks second-best among eight Washington community colleges that have already taken inventory of how much greenhouse gases it releases, the Peninsula Daily News reported.
Thirty-two colleges and universities in Washington have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by signing onto the American College &University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
Across the country, more than 650 campuses have agreed to measure their global warming pollution, take steps to reduce emissions, make sustainability part of the curriculum and come up with a plan to address climate change.
“We recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real,” and that it’s largely the result of human activity, Peninsula College president Tom Keegan said Thursday during an event highlighting the college’s efforts to reduce emissions.
“We are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for effects,” he added.
The Port Angeles campus produced 12.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per 1,000 square feet during a year period beginning July 2008.
Student researchers Bill Batson and Jacqueline Potts, who compiled the data, found that commuters accounted for the college’s largest single source of greenhouse gases.
Of eight community colleges that have reported greenhouse gas emissions, Cascadia Community College in Bothell reported the least at 7.7 metric tons per 1,000 square feet. Centralia Community College reported 63.3 metric tons per 1,000 square feet.
Deborah Frazier, vice president of administrative services, said Peninsula College is incorporating sustainability into the educational experience.
One student ballot measure would impose a $5 quarterly fee to pay for free, unlimited-use Clallam Transit bus passes for students.
Student Josh Fletcher, 22, who attended Thursday’s event, said he was disappointed more students didn’t show up.
He and his girlfriend, Jessica Simons, are growing their own tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and other vegetables and installing solar panels.
“I’d like to see more sustainable classes,” Fletcher said.