Ohio State joins Midwestern Higher Education Climate Summit
The Ohio State University will be a founding member of a higher education summit focused on addressing climate change.
President Michael V. Drake joined Michael Bloomberg in St. Louis to announce the Midwestern Higher Education Climate Summit. The summit, to be held in 2020, is expected to be the largest meeting of Midwest universities focused on mitigating the effects of climate change and moving to a 100 percent clean-energy economy.
The summit will bring together Midwestern universities, local government and the private sector to work together to find innovative and measurable ideas to solve the challenges of climate change at a local level.
Washington University will serve as the anchor for the climate summit and the partnership with other higher education institutions. Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide support for the operations of the summit.
“Universities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change,” said Bloomberg. “And Washington University is a great example – as a hub for cutting-edge research, as a key partner for the city of St. Louis, and as home to students who want to put their talents to work to build a better future. This summit will fuel new efforts across the Midwest to cut emissions and protect communities from impacts.”
Washington University will host the summit and will develop a model for regional climate leadership. The host university will also employ students and faculty to work beyond the classroom in the city of St. Louis and disseminate the St. Louis model to other peer institutions, starting with the members of the climate summit.
The summit is expected to build on St. Louis’ OneSTL model that uses a regional coalition of public-private partnerships to build a more sustainable community. Founding members of the summit, like Ohio State, will help develop the goals and outcomes of the event.
“Institutions of higher education have the opportunity to develop the research and technology required for a clean energy economy and the future leaders who will get us there,” Drake said. “Ohio State is excited about the opportunity from Bloomberg and Washington University to work with students, faculty and resources from institutions throughout the region. Addressing the global threat of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future requires deep collaboration and coordination of all of our best ideas and talents — and this summit and partnership will allow exactly that.”
The university has made sustainability a priority. Ohio State is committed to being a carbon-neutral campus by 2050 and is one of the largest users of renewable energy in Ohio, with over 15% of the university’s total purchased electricity sourced from an Ohio-based wind farm.
In 2017, Ohio State entered into a partnership with Ohio State Energy Partners to manage the campus utility system and make Ohio State a global model of energy efficiency. One goal of the partnership is to improve energy efficiency on the Columbus campus by at least 25 percent by 2025.