Goshen College receives gift to advance climate change and sustainability initiatives

Each Earth Day, GC students and employees gather to plant trees to maintain the college’s Tree Campus USA designation.

Goshen College has received a contribution that will help support the college’s environmental commitments.

This anonymous commitment, totaling $50,000 annually, will fund climate initiatives at GC and is earmarked for two key areas:

  • Study-Service Term (SST): A $25,000 annual commitment to support climate awareness and education during each SST unit. This includes funding for carbon offsets matching the calculated carbon footprint of travel and lodging for domestic as well as international units, as well as engaging various leaders to speak to students on climate impacts and strategies.
  • Climate Leadership Initiative: An additional $25,000 per year to fuel a broader climate leadership initiative at Goshen College. This initiative seeks to explore innovative approaches to higher education, fostering the leadership necessary to address global climate challenges.

This gift reflects a shared vision for the role of education in creating informed and responsible global citizens capable of addressing the challenges of climate change and sustainability.

“For the last five years, students in my environmental economics and sustainability courses have researched the environmental impacts of the Study-Service Term, estimating the carbon footprint of travel to places like Peru, China, Senegal and Tanzania,” said Jerrell Ross Richer, professor of economics. “We are committed to global engagement, but understand the urgency of offsetting our emissions of greenhouse gasses by planting trees, protecting forests and investing in renewable energy.”

GC has a history of engaging in climate-related initiatives, exemplified by its participation in the Climate Leadership Network since 2007. This gift builds on the college’s dedication to sustainability, while preparing students to contribute meaningfully to global challenges now and in the future.

“As a Goshen College student, it was always nice to see prairies being planted and food waste being composted,” said Dan Barwick, the college’s sustainability coordinator. “As a graduate and employee, I am happy watching solar panels be put in and hearing a commitment to electricity being supplied by 100 percent green energy. I am ecstatic that the college is continually working with our community to do even more in the future.”

GC will continue to seek out opportunities for collaboration with community and industry partners, explore innovative approaches to education and leadership in this field, and continue to integrate sustainability principles into all aspects of campus life, especially SST.

“For the first time this year, SST students can travel to Indonesia and Ecuador knowing that their experiences will be climate positive as we strive to go beyond net-zero – funding carbon offsets, interacting with experts on a national level and engaging in hands-on immersive experiences with local organizations,” said Richer.