Early participation in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze those US campuses that became
signatories of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) during
the charter membership period of December 2006 through September 15, 2007.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on literature in organizational change,
organizational learning, and innovation diffusion to develop a tentative idea as to what types of
campuses might be most likely to be climate change innovators. It then characterizes signatory
campuses with respect to such variables as their size, location, and type.
Findings – The paper shows that there is no typical signatory among the 379 ACUPCC charter
members. Many types of institutions, public and private, small and large, and located throughout the
USA, have pledged to become climate neutral through this commitment.
Practical implications – Understanding more about how USA higher education is responding to
global climate change is an important component of the larger discussions surrounding this critical
Originality/value – Higher education has a vital role to play in global climate change mitigation and
adaptation, but there has been little prior scholarly attention to this topic. This paper contributes to the
understanding of this issue through its analysis of the most innovative and comprehensive climate
initiative in US higher education.
Stacey Swearingen White
International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology