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Oxford Talks Climate at Town Hall

Colleges all over the country are signing an agreement to focus on mitigating the effects of climate change, but Miami University has not yet taken this step.

Over 700 universities have signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which guarantees the school will reduce gas emissions and work to fight climate change. Associated Student Government Secretary for Sustainability and Infrastructure Molly O'Donnell, among others, is working to make Miami a part of this commitment.

The Department of Geography held a Climate Action Campus Town Hall for Geography Awareness Week. This presentation aimed to bring together Oxford residents and Miami students, faculty and staff to discuss the problem of climate on a local level and what can be done to help.

Graduate student Max Leveridge presented on the ACUPCC, which would involve forming a taskforce to examine the sustainability of practices at Miami and make a climate action plan. O'Donnell and Leveridge hope to work with administrators to eliminate the university's carbon footprint by 2050.

Similarly, a team of graduate students is leading a sustainability assessment of the city of Oxford. After their inventory is complete, they will work to implement steps to reach achievable goals to reduce carbon emissions and use resources in the best way possible.

In recent years, Miami has taken steps toward lessening the effects of climate change. Miami's Western campus is powered by geothermal energy, and the university was able to eliminate coal as a fuel source.

The League of American Bicyclists also recently gave Miami a bronze medal for being a bicycle friendly university, which has been part of an effort to discourage driving and the release of carbon emissions.

City councilman David Prytherch, also a geography professor and organizer of the town hall, hopes to engage in more conversations like this in the future and to provide more opportunities for Miami students, faculty and staff to collaborate with residents and officials of Oxford.

"I realize sometimes how little the two sides talk to each other, and we have two entities who are both thinking about the same thing simultaneously," Prytherch said. "I would like to think that it would be better if we collaborated on stuff like this."

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