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Pointing to peer institutions, Purdue faculty and students argue university is falling behind on climate goals

Purdue’s University Senate passed a resolution this week opposing SB202 (FILE PHOTO: WBAA News/Ben Thorp)
Purdue faculty and students are renewing their call for a decarbonization plan from Purdue.  (FILE PHOTO: Ben Thorp/WFYI)

Purdue students and faculty are renewing their call for the university to commit to an official climate action plan.

Activists say the school lags behind other universities by not having a concrete plan to decarbonize.

Early last year, a group of Purdue students and faculty came together to urge the university to commit to a zero-emissions climate plan.

Purdue Professor Michael Johnston said many other peer institutions have announced timelines for hitting carbon neutrality.

“I think that says a lot about where the university-supported initiatives around decarbonization are at Purdue,” he said. “We’re behind our peers.”

Indiana University is among those peer institutions. In 2023, the school announced a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040.

Johnston said faculty and students are hopeful that President Mung Chiang will be more open to outlining climate goals than his predecessor, Mitch Daniels.

“The jury is still out in terms of how much he is going to prioritize decarbonization,” he said.

When reached for comment a Purdue spokesperson forwarded the school’s 2020 sustainability plan and pointed out that the school last year won a sustainability award from the Department of Education for reducing water use and planting trees.

The school’s sustainability plan does not include steps to reach carbon neutrality.