Sustainability will be a core feature of all campus planning and development efforts. In the summer of 2016, Vassar College President Catharine Bond Hill endorsed the Vassar Climate Action Plan, which articulates clear institutional goals and best practices meant to guide the College toward carbon neutrality by 2030. Meeting our Climate Action Plan commitments requires the improvement and refinement of the College’s existing physical plant infrastructure so that it continues to deliver the heating, power, and communication vital to our facility operations. The College will work aggressively to improve energy efficiency in operations and facilities, including pursuing contractual obligations for efficiency (see "Green Building Guidelines" in the Appendix), reusing existing infrastructure, and minimizing new square footage.
The College must also study and consider ways to promote low-energy transportation, such as walking, bicycling, electric vehicles, and public transportation. A commitment to sustainability also means that the College will strive to develop a walkable campus and reduce the amount of central areas dedicated to parking by relocating a majority of parking to peripheral parking lots. The campus master plan (CMP) must establish strategies that minimize environmental contamination and reduce negative impacts on local waterways that pass through campus by having permeable pavement throughout campus and reducing road salt use in the winter. The College is extremely fortunate to have an abundance of natural open space that was conceived and implemented as an arboretum; this lush and verdant landscape greatly enhances the quality of life on campus and must be preserved and enhanced for future generations.