American University presidents have a legacy of demonstrated leadership in sustainability by committing along with more than 600 other college and university presidents through the Climate Leadership Commitments and along with more than 2,600 leaders from multiple sectors in the We Are Still In pledge to engage in climate action. The strength of a movement comes from its participants, and we are part of a growing number of institutions that are committing to achieving ambitious climate goals and pushing for increased global action. At American University, we have turned these pledges into actions that are visible in our buildings, transportation programs, and classrooms.
In April 2016, American University became a charter signatory to the Climate Commitment through Second Nature, a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities expand their sustainability efforts. The Climate Commitment expands on the original American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) by adding resilience planning to AU's existing commitment to carbon neutrality and sustainability education. President Kerwin signed the original ACUPCC in 2008.
American Campuses Act on Climate
In November 2015, President Kerwin signed the White House's American Campuses Act on Climate pledge. More than 300 colleges and universities signed the pledge to support global action at the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations.
In April 2017, President Burwell signed "We Are Still In," pledging AU to continue to work toward achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. In 2021, to mark the United States' return to the Paris Agreement, AU became a part of "America is All In", which seeks to activate a whole-of-society mobilization to drive the transformational climate action that science demands.
District of Columbia Mayor's College and University Sustainability Pledge
In February 2012, nine presidents from DC colleges and universities joined Mayor Vincent Gray to sign the District of Columbia Mayor's College and University Sustainability Pledge to work together to make DC the "greenest college town in America." In 2019, AU President Sylvia Burwell signed an updated pledge with Mayor Muriel Bowser.