students walking through green campus

President's Message

A Message from President Amy Gutmann

Editors Note: Amy Gutmann served as Penn's President from 2004 to Spring 2022.

I am pleased to present the University of Pennsylvania’s Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 3.0, our roadmap for Penn’s next great step forward in environmental sustainability. We launched our first sustainability plan in 2009. Since then, as global environmental challenges have become increasingly acute, we have accomplished much. But more remains to be done. Penn continues to set its sights ever higher, and this newest plan will challenge our ingenuity and commitment as we move purposefully toward our commitment of a 100% carbon neutral campus by 2042.

This is, in a sense, Penn’s own moon landing – an enormous challenge of great logistical and technical complexity. In this effort, our greatest asset is the depth of faculty, student, and staff commitment to solving these problems. Just since 2009, we have opened eight new faculty research centers across five schools, each of which focus on some aspect of environmental performance to help meet the global climate crisis. We are creating new lines of research in energy and data science, which will be housed in buildings that reflect our ambitious sustainability aspirations. Penn students are especially passionate about environmental issues, creating an ever-increasing number of interest groups and clubs to explore issues and advocate for improved environmental performance. We welcome their input and enthusiasm.

I hope you will take time to read through this report carefully. The next five years will see our carbon emissions reduced even further, our campus building efficiency improve, and a sustained effort to invest in environmental improvements through additional retrofits, renewal projects, and expanded recommissioning efforts in our labs, classrooms, and offices. Concurrent with that effort, our waste minimization programs, sustainable purchasing strategies, and expanded transportation options will build on the current success of initiatives already in place.

Penn’s leadership sets a national model. Our concern is unflagging, and our commitment is resolute: we are embarking on the next step in addressing the urgent environmental challenges of 2019 and beyond.

Amy Gutmann
Penn President