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Leading Climate Action at Colby Sawyer College: Anna White

Colby-Sawyer College (CSC) became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, setting it on a trajectory to carbon neutrality by 2050. With CSC’s commitment to campus sustainability, their work has expanded beyond campus into the surrounding communities in the Lake Sunapee region. As the new Climate Action Leader serving CSC, and as an AmeriCorps member, I serve with Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to advancing the services of higher education. I’m also a part of a national program called Campus Climate Action Corps (CCAC), which is dedicated to educating the community on climate issues such as improving energy efficiency, restoring at-risk ecosystems, and conducting home energy walkthroughs. 


Campus Climate Action Corps was launched last year. This year, CCAC will be a part of the American Climate Corps (ACC). ACC’s goal is to increase peoples’ job experience within the green sector to help address the climate crisis. I personally got involved with CCAC to gain more experience in the sustainability sector and engage with communities to make them more sustainable. 


As a Climate Action Leader at Colby Sawyer, I am hosting community education events to inform homeowners and renters about ways they can save on energy and utility costs. Most recently, I hosted NHSaves to deliver their Button Up Workshop which informs residents how to weatherize their homes and get connected to government rebate programs. There was a great turn out for this event and many people benefited from the information presented. 


This summer I have two Colby-Sawyer students serving as Climate Action Energizers working with me to accomplish our goals. Climate Action Energizers are minimum time AmeriCorps members who will complete 300 hours of service. We are actively conducting home energy efficiency walkthroughs where we evaluate lighting, insulation, and overall energy use to help residents reduce their utility costs. By taking part in a home energy assessment, community members are doing their part to track their carbon footprint and implement effective strategies in their home to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to anthropocentric climate change. 


For our ecosystem restoration project, we are working to remove knotweed from the Esther Currier Wildlife Management Area here in New London. Knotweed has taken over a part of the park overlooking the gorgeous pond and scenery. When the knotweed is at its full height in the summer, which can be up to 13 feet tall, it makes it difficult to look out to the water. We are implementing the “cover and smother method” recommended by the UNH Extension program on how to remove invasive species. 


Colby-Sawyer College has been a supportive host site to the efforts CCAC has set out to accomplish. Earlier this year, I hosted an Energy Jeopardy for students, staff, and faculty. The participants were enthusiastic about the game and through post event surveys, reported they learned a lot about energy efficiency. I have also conducted a Home Energy Walkthrough for one staff member and will continue to advertise our Walkthroughs to the staff and faculty of Colby-Sawyer College. 


It has been great to work with our community on these initiatives and build on the work Colby-Sawyer College is doing with campus sustainability. To learn more about Campus Climate Action Corps, please visit compact.org/CCAC or contact Anna White at 





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