Open Letter on Climate Action from over 170 Higher Education Leaders to Incoming Administration and Congress


LA CROSSE, Wis., Dec. 22, 2016 – Western Technical College, along with Presidents and Chancellors from 170 colleges and universities, including 35 states in the U.S., have joined together to urge president-elect Trump and the incoming congressional representatives to accelerate progress toward a clean energy future. Through their open letter, organized by a diverse group of higher education institutions and the Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, they call on elected officials to support participation in the Paris Agreement, climate research, and investment in the low carbon economy.

“The upcoming transition of federal leadership presents a unique opportunity to address head-on the challenges of climate change by accelerating the new energy economy and creating strong, resilient communities,” wrote the group. “We are committed to developing and deploying innovative climate solutions that provide a prosperous future for all Americans.”

The group of schools expressed their alignment with the business and investment communities in supporting the science-based targets outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. Western has been taking climate action for years, including voluntarily setting carbon neutrality goals, committing to LEED standards of energy efficiency for new construction, participating in energy-saving initiatives that have saved the college over $1 million to date, and forming a community partnership called the Sustainability Institute to offer training and programming to businesses.  .

“Western has received national recognition for our efforts to promote sustainability, and our community supports these efforts,” said Lee Rasch, Western president. “As higher education leaders, we believe it is the right thing to do.”

A full list of the schools supporting the open letter can be found at

For more information on Western’s sustainability efforts, visit