Vision for Sustainability

We envision a carbon neutral campus by 2030.

 

Our Strategic Plan

SAVE: Sustainable Action | Visible Effects

SAVE is Pomona College's guide for creating and managing a sustainable campus community. The plan outlines measurable strategies that lead the College to achieve ambitious sustainability goals and reach carbon neutrality by 2030. SAVE aligns the work and direction of The Board of Trustees, the President, the President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability, and the Pomona community.

Progress on SAVE goals and initiatives is published each October in the SAVE Annual Report. See below for a snapshot of our key categories and visit our online, interactive SAVE Annual Report for highlights on programming and progress towards goals.

View the SAVE Annual Report

 

Key Categories

Vision, Goals & Performance

Toggle through the dropdowns below to see each category's vision, goals, and latest performance. For full highlights on achievements and progress, view our online, interactive SAVE Annual Report. You can also request a PDF copy of the SAVE: Sustainable Action | Visible Effects strategic plan by emailing sustainability@pomona.edu.

Climate Action

VISION

Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

2021 SUMMARY

This year, Pomona College emitted over 5,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e), which represented a 66% emissions reduction from our 2014 baseline year and a 50% reduction from last year. Pomona's campus closure as well as travel restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were essential to reduce emissions, keeping the campus at a “baseline” emissions level. As students, faculty, and staff return to campus in the fall, it will be important to continue reducing emissions through energy efficiency projects, utilizing virtual platforms for non-essential travel, and exploring carbon offset projects.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Energy

VISION

Create an environment supported by clean energy, data analytics, and efficiently operating buildings without sacrificing comfort, reliability, or resilience.

2021 SUMMARY

The campus closure provided insight on Pomona College’s baseline energy use— how much energy the College’s buildings use without any occupants. With the majority of faculty and staff working remotely, Facilities was able to implement flexible building temperatures and shut down non-essential equipment. This reduced energy usage 34% from last year and 51% from the 2014 baseline. Many of the largest reductions in usage this year came from athletic facilities and the residence halls since those spaces were largely unoccupied. As the campus reopens in the fall, the Sustainability Office will work with Facilities to identify and prioritize major energy efficiency projects that will continue to reduce campus energy use for years to come.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Water

VISION

Reduce our water footprint while supporting a vibrant, diverse, abundant campus ecosystem and creating a culture of water awareness and action.

2021 SUMMARY

Campus water usage is on a positive downward trend with a 24% decrease from the baseline. The campus closure reduced domestic water consumption by 51% since 2019, the most recent year that Pomona’s campus was fully open. However, outdoor irrigation increased by 43% compared to 2019, largely due to increased water usage at the Rains Athletic Center’s construction site. As people return to campus, the Sustainability Office aims to increase WaterWise awareness in the residence halls, the largest consumer of water when the campus is open. Additionally, the Sustainability Office plans to work closely with Grounds to improve irrigation operations.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Waste

VISION

Reduce, reuse, and divert our waste to create a responsible, healthy, Zero Waste campus.

2021 SUMMARY

This year, largely because of the campus closure, Pomona College reduced total waste sent to the landfill by 68% (nearly 350 tons) compared to the 2014 baseline and 62% compared to last year. The campus also diverted 65% of waste from the landfill, mostly because of an increase in grounds projects that produced mulch through the City of Claremont. While waste is expected to rise with the campus reopening in the fall, the Sustainability Office (SO) plans to further increase waste diversion through improved waste bin signage and strategic placement throughout the campus. In addition, the SO and Dining Services are piloting a Zero Waste dining program by expanding reusable food boxes and cups and packaging all grab-and-go items in compostable materials.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Transportation

VISION

Support a clean environment and healthy community through accessible, low-emission transportation.

2021 SUMMARY

The COVID-19 pandemic eliminated almost all transit to and from campus, yielding a 92% reduction in overall transportation emissions from the baseline. Pomona extended its pause of study abroad programs, athletic events, and other non-essential travel, reducing College-funded air travel 99% from 2019, the most recent year that campus was fully open. During the campus closure, faculty and staff telecommuted for 64% of their trips, compared to less than 1% in 2019. Although these results were influenced by the campus closure, COVID-19 has shown how individual choices can significantly reduce carbon emissions. As people return to campus, College-funded transportation is expected to rebound. However, the Pomona community can continue to utilize telecommuting in their academic, professional, and social activity, something which will help build global networks while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Food

VISION

Increase sustainable food purchases to support a healthy community and minimize environmental impact.

2021 SUMMARY

Because of the campus closure, Dining Services did not make any food purchases this year. However, Dining Services and the SO continued to advance food sustainability through student engagement and data collection. Pomona students examined campus attitudes toward sustainable meals and worked closely with Dining to launch Mindful Mondays, a program that will be piloted when the campus reopens in the fall. Students also found community in Grow Getters, a virtual club designed to connect people through a shared love for growing produce sustainably. Furloughed staff were able to work on a limited basis to prepare meals for local homebound seniors, providing the opportunity to give back to the community while producing delicious plant-forward meals. While Pomona College did not make any food purchases this year, it met its 2020 sustainable purchasing goals last year and is now in the process of establishing ambitious new goals for 2030.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Buildings & Outdoor Venues

VISION

Construct, operate, and maintain efficient buildings and outdoor venues to create healthy spaces and minimize environmental impact.

2021 SUMMARY

Even with the campus closure, Pomona’s Facilities and Campus Services actively worked to maintain a beautiful landscape and clean the buildings. After sampling organic herbicides and fertilizers over the past two years, the Grounds department increased their use of effective organic products from 30% last year to 69% this year. Housekeeping purchased half the amount of cleaning products compared to last year, and 30% were sustainable. All of the paper products (paper towels and toilet paper) were sustainably made from recycled material. Only 13% of chemical cleaning products were sustainable this year (compared to 55% last year) due to the increased need for hand sanitizer and traditional cleaning products. As the campus reopens, the Sustainability Office will continue to work with Facilities to find sustainable purchasing options for cleaning and landscaping products, and progress closer to our 2030 goals.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Education

VISION

Incorporate sustainability principles into campus curriculum and activities to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders and innovators.

2021 SUMMARY

This year, Pomona College offered at least one course with a sustainability component in 43% of all academic departments, an increase of 10 percentage points over the last year. Similarly, the number of courses that included a sustainability component increased to 10% of all offered courses, a two-fold increase from the last year. Meanwhile, over 75 professors incorporated sustainability components into their classes, ranging across issues of environmental sustainability, social well-being, and equitable opportunity. The year was also marked by student leadership on sustainability issues as evidenced by 15 prestigious awards, 13 senior theses, 11 RAISE projects, and 14 PCIP participations.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!

Administration

VISION

Educate and empower the next generation of environmental leaders.

2021 SUMMARY

With a remote campus this year, Sustainability projects and programming continued virtually. ASPC mailed sustainability-minded care packages to all students, Faculty sponsored a plethora of sustainability-focused works, and the President’s Sustainability Fund awarded projects for mindful dining options and additional water bottle refill stations in two dorms. The Sustainability Office’s EcoReps (peer educators) hosted sustainable programming throughout the year, like the EcoNews Bulletin, engaging social media posts, and a virtual Earth Week.

 

For more information, click the link to our SAVE Report here!