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University of Richmond announces plans to offset the carbon footprint of campus visits

Knowing that students are passionate about sustainability, Enrollment Management and the Office of Sustainability partnered to offset the carbon footprint of the campus visits. The University will work with We Are Neutral, pioneers in the carbon offset market.

Trevor Dickerson

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The arrival of spring on campus signals the arrival of potential students and their families traveling from across the country to visit the University of Richmond campus.

Knowing that students are passionate about sustainability, Enrollment Management and the Office of Sustainability partnered to offset the carbon footprint of the campus visits. The University will work with We Are Neutral, pioneers in the carbon offset market.

For Admissions purposes, We Are Neutral calculates offset emissions based on prospective student travel data. Flight and travel data are translated into gallons of gasoline, which are then converted into tons of CO2 equivalent.

UR Admissions staff will provide to We Are Neutral data based on visits to campus 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.

The company has a “bank account” of verified carbon offset credits from already-completed carbon offset 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.

“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 of 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 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.  “We all have a contribution to make,” said Andrejewski. “This step by our Admissions team is a great example of doing what you can, where you are, with what you have, to make a difference.”

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.