Climate Change Initiative at the Institutional Level:

An Analysis of Legal, Financial, and Institutional Energy Consumption Followed by a Proposal for Roanoke College to Take Climate Action

Author: Anthony Wisdo
Major: Environmental Science
Approved: Spring 2020
Status: Completed

The intention of this project is to conduct a critical analysis of the college’s current financial practices regarding energy use, waste disposal, and other agricultural practices to construct a cost-benefit analysis of engaging in sustainable practices at different levels of commitment (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%). My rationale for focusing on the financial aspects of engaging in sustainable action rather than policy is two-fold.

Roanoke College, like any other non-profit business must ensure that they do not incur losses year after year. Essentially, it aims to manage its finances so that it can sustainably continue to operate long term while maintaining financial stability. After considering this reality, it became clear that if I want the college to engage in any environmental action, I will have to prove its financial viability. The second reason behind the alteration is because I have never really considered the economic aspects of sustainability and would like to challenge myself to learn about a field of study I am not knowledgeable in.

To complete this project, I first plan on breaking down the college’s expenditure on aspects that can be related to sustainability. This would include information on energy use, waste disposal, recycling costs, water usage, and many other investments that can be related to sustainability. The college’s expenditures will be categorized into different subsections of costs that can be ameliorated through environmental action.

After collecting the college’s current expenditures on issues relating to sustainability, I will then provide a cost-benefit analysis of how engaging in sustainable practices at different levels of commitment will affect the Colleges expenditure over time. To gather information on this, I plan on conducting research into economic policies that govern switching to renewable energy and more sustainable practices. In addition, I plan to collect data on college’s similar to Roanoke College that are at different levels of commitment to sustainability.

To encourage Roanoke College to engage in many of the suggestions I make to increase our level of commitment to sustainability, I also plan to incorporate a marketing analysis of sustainable action that highlights that benefits of engagement with regards to institutions of higher education. For this portion I plan to look at statistics concerning enrollment and decision-making for students considering where to continue their education.

Finally, I plan to receive multiple certifications that will help me develop a better understanding of how economics and business relate to environmental science, as well as certifications that will support my claim to understanding sustainable development.

Wisdo Distinction Project Final