Seeing green: University of Richmond will offset the carbon footprint of campus visits

April 22, 2022

UNIVERSITY NEWS

Knowing that students are passionate about sustainability, Enrollment Management and the Office for Sustainability have partnered to offset the carbon footprint of this year’s spring campus visits.

“We know that our students care deeply about the environment and sustainability, and that travel has a direct and measurable impact on the environment,” said Stephanie Dupaul, vice president for Enrollment Management. “Through this initiative we are able to welcome students to campus in ways that minimize the impact of travel. This new initiative aligns UR’s commitment to these values with our students’ passions.”

The University will work with We Are Neutral, pioneers in the carbon offset market, providing the company data based on campus tours and open houses this spring. The company will calculate the footprint of visitors traveling to and from campus based on mode of transportation and mileage, and UR will buy the offset based on that calculation.

Carbon dioxide is created by the burning of fossil fuels, including those that power flights and car rides, and it’s the primary greenhouse gas created by human activity that contributes to climate change.

We Are Neutral has a pool of verified carbon-offset credits from already-completed projects, including tree planting and methane reduction. “UR’s donation to We Are Neutral retires the verified offset from a completed project in the University’s name,” said Rob Andrejewski, director of sustainability.

Andrejewski said he wasn’t aware of any other higher-education institutions that operate a carbon offset program geared toward prospective students. “A lot of campuses don’t look at prospective student travel as something they’re responsible for,” he said.

The carbon offset program is one of many that have led to the university’s recognition as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges. UR has an active pollinator program, holds Green Spider challenges, and has a Spider Solar program.