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Climate Year Six-month Progress Report

June 29, 2021

As we reach the halfway mark in Climate Year 2021 and reflect on the year up to this point, we're proud of all that the Climate Year planning team and the Climate & Sustainability Working Group has accomplished. We are not doing this work alone, though, and here we also share the accomplishments of our Drexel colleagues and students who are leaders in the work to build a climate-conscious Drexel community.

Goal #1: Strengthen our institutional climate commitment

Goal #2: Promote climate & sustainability focused experiential learning opportunities

  • Drexel has joined the EPIC Network to support experiential learning partnerships and has piloted several problem-solving courses with internal Drexel divisions.
  • The College of Arts & Sciences has launched its new minor in Climate Change.
  • We completed an undergraduate student climate case competition during the winter term and have just launched a second for the summer term.
  • Professor Jason Baxter’s Project Drawdown course gave students an opportunity to identify ways they could become agents of change in the climate crisis.
  • Drexel is supporting student participation in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Local Climate Action Program.
  • The Pennoni Honors College offered a course on global climate action during the winter and spring terms. Many of the students were selected to present at the Annual Student Conference on Global Challenges, based on their submitted abstracts related to climate action.
  • The Climate & Sustainability Working Group offered has hosted a student co-op and cohort-based service opportunities for Drexel Community Scholars.
  • The Climate & Sustainability Working Group collaborated with the Steinbright Career Development Center to share an informative video on how students can pursue a focus on climate in their co-ops and careers. “Earth Day: Being a Climate Leader in the Workplace” is available through Drexel Streams.
  • The Office of Global Engagement has developed a list of courses students can enroll in at our international partner institutions that have an environmental and/or sustainability focus for study abroad.

Goal #3: Inspire applied climate-focused research, civic engagement, and collaboration

  • The Climate & Sustainability Working Group is now convening the Climate Resilience Research Agenda with regional partners to identify needed research for regional climate resilience.
  • The Working Group received a grant from Second Nature’s Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund to support stipends for community stakeholders who are participating in the Climate Resilience Research Agenda, ensuring that critical voices are present for this work.
  • The Office of Global Engagement hosted a dynamic climate-focused Global Climate Research Symposium with Drexel faculty and global partners.
  • The Office of Global Engagement also established a Global Climate Action funding award to support climate-focused research.
  • The climate emergency figured prominently in the annual Student Conference on Global Challenges, hosted by the Office of Global Engagement, focused this year on disasters.
  • Climate & Sustainability Working Group student team member Vaidehi Andhare received a Pennoni Honors College undergraduate research mini-grant to support needs assessment research for the Environmental Justice Fellows Program concept.

Goal #4: Engage the community through public facing climate and sustainability programming

Goal #5: Take inventory, coordinate, and track

  • This spring, the Climate & Sustainability Working Group submitted Drexel’s first STARS report, netting us a Bronze rating, and the working group has identified a path to improve our ratings over the next few years. STARS — Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System — is an institutional sustainability performance evaluation offered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • The Climate & Sustainability Working Group submitted a Drexel entry for the Campus Race to Zero Waste, highlighting the winter term case competition which challenged students to create solutions to the problem of increasing use of single-use plastics during the COVID-19 pandemic in Drexel dining.
  • The Climate & Sustainability Working Group established a website to share and catalog the sustainability-focused activities and opportunities happening at Drexel, including events, programs, course offerings, and more.