NEW YORK, N.Y., April 6, 2012 — Pratt Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious independent colleges of art and design, has been recognized as one of 15 top colleges and universities in the nation for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as part of its Celebrating Sustainability series.
The ACUPCC is an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action. The Celebrating Sustainability series highlights colleges and universities that exemplify the initiative’s mission to re-stabilize the earth’s climate through education, research, and community engagement; the series is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22.
“As a founding member of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, we are thrilled to be recognized with this honor,” said Thomas F. Schutte, president of Pratt Institute. “As a leader in sustainability education and in innovative design thinking, we understand that collaboration, sharing ideas, and trading best practices among schools, businesses, and students is the key to promoting sustainability,” he added.
Pratt has a long-standing commitment to supporting sustainability. In 2010, the Institute was at the forefront of a dynamic cohort of presidents, provosts, deans, and faculty members that made a five-year commitment to work collaboratively to integrate sustainability throughout academic programs.
In 2011, this effort brought together 33 independent colleges of art and design across North America and three state universities into a far-reaching partnership designed to transform the academic environment.
“Creating this partnership of 33 colleges and universities leverages our resources while reducing costs, furthering academic value, and creating the future model for collaboration among our institutions,” said Debera Johnson, academic director of sustainability, Pratt Institute.
“Pratt’s success in building a collaborative response to driving sustainable practices is central to our mission,” said Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. “Pratt has demonstrated leadership and helped build a foundation with these 33 schools that will have a far-reaching impact on stabilizing our climate and creating a healthier environment.”
In 2007, Schutte became one of the first signatories of the ACUPCC and that same year accepted Mayor Bloomberg’s 30/10 Challenge to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2017, which is the central goal of the Institute’s climate action plan. This commitment resulted in the creation of the Center for Sustainable Design Studies and Research (CSDS), an educational resource for sustainable best practices. The CSDS also operates the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, which currently supports 12 start-up businesses and a design extension program that helps local industries reduce their climate footprint.
Pratt’s leadership and commitment to support sustainability was further underscored in January 20122 when it opened a new six-story, 120,000-square-foot green academic and administrative facility named Myrtle Hall to house the college’s Department of Digital Arts as well as several administrative offices. The building serves as a physical manifestation of Pratt’s commitment to sustainable design education.
Since 2010 Pratt has been cited as one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review in its Guide to Green Colleges. The guide notes that Pratt’s “reputation as a prestigious art school makes it an obvious choice for students interested in green design, and its urban campus provides a unique challenge for putting green design into practice.”