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Bethlehem, Pa., April 21, 2008— Moravian College President Christopher M. Thomforde will sign the Talloires Declaration, a statement affirming the institution’s commitment to environmental sustainability, on “Earth Day,” Tuesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. The signing is a culmination of the Moravian College Sustainability Task Force’s efforts to actively engage the campus community in issues related to sustainability. The Declaration outlines and signifies the willingness of the College to implement the plan and support environmental citizenship at all levels. The ten point action plan to advance global environmental literacy and sustainable development, created by the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (AULSF), has been signed by approximately 350 college and university presidents nationwide.
Prior to the signing, alumnus Jonathan D. Soden ’91 will announce his family’s intent to establish a $40,000 endowed fund to support the Sustainability Task Force, a group consisting of students, faculty, and staff working together to promote environmental issues. The endowment will be supported through a family charitable trust created by Jonathan ’91 and his wife Teresa ’92, and his parents Harry and Hilda Soden ’65. The funds will be managed by the Task Force to sustain its programs and activities.
“While the actual signing won't make any immediate physical changes on campus, it signifies that our college community recognizes the need to be good environmental stewards and to set a good example for the local communities and other academic institutions,” said Chiu Cheng ’08, a student representative from the Task Force. “Outlined in the Talloires Declaration are 10 areas where the college can improve on and reduce its global footprint, including measures such as increasing awareness about some of the environmental concerns, educating and reaching beyond the college community, making necessary amendments and additions to the learning curriculum, and keeping the momentum moving once it has been started.”
Cheng noted the significance of the College’s commitment to “going green.” “There are many possible benefits in the near future. We will become part of a broad network of academic institutions that can share expertise, experiences and join forces to achieve similar goals in sustainability. There may be funding made available to these schools and with growing environmental concerns globally, it would be in the best interest for Moravian to be proactive in the movement to green college campuses early on. We live in a world with finite resources and a growing population. The well-being of future generations depends on our actions today.”
The Task Force expects that “the inspiration of lighter living will become gradually more contagious—a contagion that we hope will infect the whole order of life. Today's students will be tomorrow's leaders responsible for shaping their own communities. Not only can Moravian inspire other institutions with what we'll be doing, as students graduate and enter the professional world, they will carry their liberal arts education and expertise to benefit their new communities,” Cheng noted.
Task Force members agree that President Thomforde’s signing of the Declaration will serve as example to other educational institutions, businesses, and others who may be considering similar action. “It is essential the College and Seminary take the step toward "going green" because if such steps are not taken on an institutional level then there is little hope of it happening at all.” said Christie Melby-Gibbons a graduate student at Moravian Theological Seminary and member of the Task Force. Signing the Talloires Declaration will serve as example to all educational institutions, businesses, and individuals because it says that we care about the quality of life for all parts of the natural world, not merely for the privileged few."
The signing will be held by the in-ground 1742 Insignia near the corner of Monocacy and Locust Streets on Moravian’s Main Campus.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.