Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, joined college and university presidents from across the country in endorsing carbon pricing for its economy wide approach to lowering greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
During a ceremony May 8, Rooney, who was joined by Fisher students and faculty and representatives of Our Climate, signed an open letter urging state and federal lawmakers to proactively work to enact legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions and transition to a clean energy economy.
“The college’s support for the Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative is the culmination of efforts led by our students. I am grateful for their thoughtful and collaborative approach and am proud to see Fisher students take bold action to address one of today’s pressing issues,” said Rooney.
The letter urges elected representatives to “act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon” and promotes carbon pricing as an “indispensable step we can take to effectively combat climate change.”
Fisher joined the effort in large part due to the work of undergraduate students from the Political Action Club including Gabriella Kielbasinski and Brenna Sherman, class of 2019; and Avery Ryan and Morgan Bajish, class of 2021, who worked for a year and a half generating student support through petitioning and club endorsements.
“Climate change is overwhelming, it can seem like there simply isn’t enough time or people willing to make the change,” said Kielbasinski. “Initiatives like this give me hope.”
The club also held three meetings with Rooney; Linda Steinkirchner, vice president for finance and chief financial officer; and Ken Widanka, director of facilities services, to discuss the impacts of carbon pricing on operating costs and the campus’ environmental footprint.
“As a citizen, advocating for this endorsement was an important and meaningful experience in thinking globally, acting locally,” said Kathleen Donovan, assistant professor of political science, who advises the Political Action Club.
The Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative is led by Our Climate and Years of Living Dangerously. Our Climate mobilizes and empowers young people to educate the public and elected officials about science-based, equitable climate policy solutions that build a livable world. It leads the hashtag, #PutAPriceOnIt campaign, which recruits, trains and supports student leaders across the country to advocate for carbon pricing. Visit ourclimate.us to read the text of the letter and see a list of signers.