FARMINGTON – Theodora J. Kalikow, University of Maine at Farmington president, has joined 300 of her peers recently in signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledges to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, invest in environmentally sustainable practices, and to promote the necessary research and educational efforts to fight global warming.

“As an educational institution, we must be a leader in promoting the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources,” Kalikow said in a prepared statement. “Teaching about sound environmental practices has become an intrinsic part of our campus culture; their benefits can be made apparent to students, faculty, staff, and our surrounding community, all of whom can participate in efforts to fight against global warming. UMF is committed to leading the way and to modeling responsible stewardship.”

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is being supported and implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Second Nature and ecoAmerica. Its goals are to help “avert the worst impacts of global warming and to re-establish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible.”

According to a UMF news release issued Monday, the campus has already taken a leadership role in environmental stewardship based on Kalikow’s commitment to the sustainable campus movement and the creation of the Sustainable Campus Coalition. Kalikow’s collaboration with the coalition led the way for the construction of two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings, the 42,000-square-foot Education Center and the 36,000-square-foot Frances Allen Black Residence Hall.

The Presidents Climate Commitment is the first such effort by any major sector of society to set climate neutrality – not just a reduction – as its target. This undertaking by America’s colleges and universities is inspired by efforts like the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and others.