Dear Members of the Barnard Community, 

After a year of isolation, Earth Day 2021 represents an opportunity to reconnect with each other, our communities, and our shared future. Today I write to update you on Barnard’s ongoing commitment to climate action across three majors areas of the College: (1) Academics, (2) Finance and Governance, and (3) Campus Culture and Operations. 

Our 360-degree approach requires interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation and participation from every member of our community. We are coming together from all across campus and beyond to expand and enrich our academic offerings in climate, sustainability, and environmental justice; support campus stakeholders in incorporating climate goals into their internal planning; develop a pathway and timeline for net-zero emissions; and build a regenerative “Circular Campus” framework to holistically address consumption, waste, and access. I am honored to “pass the mic” to a few of our many colleagues who are leading the way:


Headshot of Linda Bell

Linda Bell - Provost & Dean of Faculty: “The Provost’s Office is committed to including a discussion of climate and sustainability in the 2022-23 Foundations review process and continuing to support the development of innovative and interdisciplinary climate teaching.” 

Headshot of Jennifer Rosales

Jennifer Rosales - Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Pedagogy: This spring, the CEP doubled down on our commitment to support the College in integrating climate, sustainability, and environmental justice across the curriculum. The CEP enacts these themes in our center by supporting anti-oppressive and ecofeminist pedagogical approaches, creating interdisciplinary spaces for faculty and students to engage in productive conversations about the environment, and amplifying the work of scholars who think critically about sustainable practices and climate change.”

Headshot of Kaiama Glover

Kaiama L. Glover - Faculty Director of the Digital Humanities Center:

We are reflecting seriously about the ecological impacts of our work as a Digital Humanities Center and integrating sustainability into our practices. We are committed to supporting Black feminist ecological digital research and pedagogy, reducing our digital carbon footprint, and prioritizing sustainable and ethical purchasing.

Finance and Governance: 

Headshot of Eileen Di Benedetto

Eileen Di Benedetto - CFO and Vice President for Finance: “In 2019, Barnard’s Board of Trustees released a Climate Science List composed of 30 fossil fuel companies, which were graded based on six criteria to determine their attitudes toward climate science and efforts toward climate change. In June 2020, the College’s endowment was divested from directly held investments that had Climate Action List scores below a certain threshold.”

Headshot of Leslie Raucher

Leslie Raucher - Associate Director of Campus Sustainability and Climate Action: “We are working to help multiple campus offices and departments define and achieve internal climate goals and find ways that sustainability can support and enhance their mission.”

Campus Culture and Operations:

Headshot of Laura O'Conner

Laura O’Connell - Associate Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning: “My team is actively working on long-range planning for net-zero emissions, as well as finding shorter-term wins, like LED replacements.”

Headshot of Carol Wynne

Carol Wynne - Manager of Custodial Services, Facilities Department: “We are changing waste collection practices in academic buildings to reduce waste and find efficiencies in daily routines for our custodial staff; we are caring for our campus, our climate, and our colleagues.”

Headshot of Jemima Gedeon

Jemima Gedeon - Associate Dean for Student Success: “Access Barnard is working with Rheaply and campus partners to build a robust system of exchange and reuse on campus. By building an internal sharing economy, we can reduce our environmental footprint while also supporting student access to supplies and course materials.”

Headshot of Cammie Jones

Cammie Jones - Executive Director of Community Engagement and Inclusion: “CE&I is launching a Policy, Advocacy, and Practice student engagement program for the next academic year. Student leaders will work alongside local and regional community members and organizations in the government and nonprofit sectors to engage with local sustainability and environmental justice challenges. Together with the community, CE&I will provide an avenue for students to gain the tools and resources needed to integrate sustainability into their civic engagement experiences.”

Our commitment to climate action does not stop at our own gates; Barnard faculty are actively engaged in building the new Columbia Climate School. Those who would like to participate in this process are welcome to contribute ideas virtually via this Engagement Circle. (password engagement21) or sign up for Climate School updates.

I invite you to participate in these Earth Day events that will be held on campus, in the community, and virtually, co-hosted with the Office of Community Engagement and Inclusion: 

  • A community cleanup event in Morningside Park, co-hosted by Friends of Morningside Park 
  • An outdoor gathering on campus, during which we’ll plant bulbs and seedlings 
  • A CEI and Street+Lab Pop-Up Tutoring opportunity. Spots are limited. Register here.
  • For virtual Earth Day participants, join the CE&I and Sustainability 2021 Courseworks Module for resources, tips and best practices. Also, make sure to follow CEIbarnard on instagram for an Earth Day Kickoff video and sustainability tips!

Sign up here to join us on Earth Day, April 22.

Finally, I invite students who will soon be moving out of campus dorms — and others who are interested — to join Barnard’s online Rheaply platform,  which facilitates the reuse and exchange of gently used items. (Use your Barnard email to log in.)

With gratitude for all of your grace, commitment, and hard work, 

Sandra Goldmark
Director of Campus Sustainability and Climate Action