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SOU among eight recipients of climate/social justice grants from Second Nature

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is one of eight North American higher education institutions to be awarded grant funding Tuesday from the Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature for innovative, cross-sector climate projects. A preference was given to those that emphasized justice, equity and engagement with communities of color.

SOU’s Social Justice and Equity Center was awarded a $6,600 grant to establish an “equity and climate resilience” program and hire a student Equity and Climate Resilience Fellow. The student will support collaboration between those working toward racial or social justice and others advocating climate resilience and adaptation.

“Southern Oregon University recognizes the intersection of social equity and climate justice, and is delighted to have received funding from Second Nature to help further our work in this area,” President Linda Schott said. “Sustainability is a critical aspect of our Strategic Plan, our values at SOU and our daily operations. We work across the board to ensure our culture is infused with sustainability.”

SOU is developing a rich history with Second Nature, which was formed in 1993 to mobilize higher education toward the goal of sustainability. The university was among 90 institutions to become “charter signatories” in 2016 to the organization’s Climate Commitment, which requires a set of climate targets and progress reports. A year later, SOU was one of just six U.S. colleges and universities to be recognized with Climate Leadership Awards from Second Nature.

This year’s “Acceleration Fund” awards will pay for projects that focus on long-term, campus-community activities that are likely to continue after the one-year grant term expires. The other seven awards went to the College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin, Stetson University in Florida, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Second Nature described a highly competitive process for this year’s grants. All colleges and universities that are Climate Leadership Network signatories or University Climate Change Coalition members were eligible to apply.

“We were positively overwhelmed with the number and diversity of applications we received,” said Tim Carter, president of Second Nature. “While it meant that our review committee had to make some tough decisions, it also affirms the higher education sector’s commitment to advancing climate action and climate justice.”

SOU’s new Equity and Climate Resilience Fellow is expected to be recruited and hired in July and begin work in September.

The student will work with the university’s Equity Coordinator for Sustainability and Basic Needs Resourcing to plan and organize working group meetings, workshops and conferences throughout the academic year. A regional conference in spring 2022 will have a theme of “embedding an equity lens in climate resilience and adaptation.”

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.

SOU recognized with Climate Leadership Award


NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/Hz6vZs)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is one of just six U.S. colleges and universities that will be recognized this week with Climate Leadership Awards at the 10th annual Presidential Climate Leadership Summit of the nonprofit organization Second Nature.
SOU and three other colleges or universities will receive honorable mentions during the three-day leadership summit’s awards luncheon on Tuesday. Two institutions – Arizona State University and Johnson County Community College in Kansas – will be named winners of the 2017 Climate Leadership Awards.
Second Nature, which was formed in 1993 to mobilize higher education toward the goal of sustainability, hosts the leadership summit each year as a touch-base opportunity for its Climate Leadership Network – made up of more than 600 colleges and universities in every state and the District of Columbia.
Member institutions each commit to take action on climate issues and prepare students to solve current and future challenges. Members may make a “Carbon Commitment” to work toward carbon neutrality; a “Resilience Commitment” to focus on climate adaptation; or a “Climate Commitment” to do both.
SOU and 14 other public and private colleges and universities in Oregon are Climate Leadership Network members, and SOU is one of four institutions in the state that have made the Climate Commitment.
SOU has also been honored with the Best Case Study Award by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA and offers LEED Gold campus housing at its Raider Village complex.
The Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards recognize leadership in sustainability, climate mitigation and resilience. The awards are made in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.