Pioneer of Campus Sustainability to Speak at Agnes Scott

Friday, January 22, 2010

David Orr, a pioneer of the campus sustainability movement, returns to Agnes Scott College to speak on “Down to the Wire: Education in a Hotter Time.” His lecture is set for Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Presser Hall’s Gaines Chapel.

David OrrOrr, a former faculty member of Agnes Scott, also will sign his most recent book, Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse after the lecture. The lecture and book signing are free and open to the public.

Orr’s visit is the inaugural event for Agnes Scott’s Environmental and Sustainability Studies program created in 2009. It is made possible by the support of the college’s Nelle Chamlee Howard Fund.

While at Agnes Scott, Orr also will teach an introductory environment and sustainability studies class and have a roundtable discussion with faculty.

Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and special assistant to the president of Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont. He is the recipient of five honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award and a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision and energy.”

His career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design and climate change. He is the author of six books and co-editor of three others.

In 1987 he organized studies of energy, water and materials use on several college campuses that helped to launch the green campus movement. In 1996, he also organized efforts to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus. Called The Adam Joseph Lewis Center, the building was later named by the U.S. Department of Energy as “One of Thirty Milestone Buildings in the 20th Century,” and by The New York Times as the most interesting of a new generation of college and university buildings. The center purifies all of its wastewater and is the first college building in the U.S. powered entirely by sunlight.

In an influential article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2000, Orr proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities and subsequently organized and funded an effort to define a carbon neutral plan for his own campus at Oberlin. Seven years later, hundreds of colleges and universities have made that pledge.

Having been a charter signatory to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Agnes Scott is among those colleges committed to becoming carbon neutral. Led by Agnes Scott’s Office of Sustainability, the college is making changes on all fronts to be environmentally responsible and filed its planned for becoming carbon neutral last fall.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.