This post originally appeared on The New School Pressroom. Photo courtesy of The New School.

President David Van Zandt Signs Commitment to Sustainable Practices and Transformative Climate Action by The New School

The New School announced today that its president, David E. Van Zandt, attended today’s invite-only White House roundtable discussion on the crucial role higher education institutions play in supporting strong action on climate change.“We were honored to be invited by the White House to join this important conversation about climate change,” Van Zandt said. “Taking a leadership position on climate change is a high priority for The New School, especially given our unique role as an urban university committed to innovating positive change and designing solutions to complex issues.”University presidents, students, and NGOs  participated in the White House Summit with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Managing Director Christy Goldfuss. Over the course of the hour-long meeting, the group highlighted the important work universities are taking on climate action, voiced support for a strong agreement at United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP), and discussed future steps that leaders in higher education can take toward achieving a low-carbon, sustainable future.In addition to attending the White House Summit, The New School joined more than 200 higher education institutions in signing the White House Act on Climate Pledge, further demonstrating The New School’s commitment to sustainability and its support of strong action on climate change by world leaders.As part of joining the White House Act on Climate Pledge, The New School commits the following:


  • Expand research in carbon neutrality and climate resilience by supporting and encouraging interdisciplinary, collaborative work by faculty and students
  • Emphasizing carbon neutrality and climate resilience in its curriculum and other educational experiences
  • Leverage The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center to foster the integration of design strategies and creative social and ecological approaches to environmental issues, as well as academic and public programming and research around climate change

Public Engagement & Advocacy

  • The New School organized a large contingent for the Climate Change March and, more recently, hosted a gathering of mayors of global cities in support of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN.
  • Make Parsons Paris an active venue for COP21 programming
  • Launch, by mid-year 2016, The New School's Carbon Emission Endowment Tool, an innovative and comprehensive formula to measure the relative climate impact of an organization's public investment portfolio. The project will help universities and non-profits around the world track their influence on climate change by reducing their investments in fossil fuel-producing activities and increasing their investments in renewable energy.

Infrastructure & Organizational Commitment

  • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and support efforts to increase climate resilience at The New School and in New York City.
  • Fully divest from all fossil fuels. Since 2014, the university has reduced fossil fuel equity holdings to just 0.19% of The New School’s endowment (as of September 2015)
  • Continue to offset 100% of The New School’s electricity consumption with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and reduce energy and other resource consumption through technology and behavior modification.
  • Maintain the University Center’s LEED Gold status