Featured: Meghan Chapple, Director of the Office of Sustainability, The George Washington University
Organization Goal: Divest 100% from fossil fuel investments and remove all GHG emissions the university has produced since its 1821 founding.
Purchase 50% of electricity from clean energy generated by Duke Energy Renewables Capital Partners Solar Project.
The solar project helped GW immediately cut its carbon footprint by 20% and inspired other universities to expand their renewables investments.
"If you do something big, real and impactful, people will notice and want to do the same thing."
Growing up in the US Midwest, living in and near vast farmlands, streams, rivers and lakes, Meghan Chapple gained a strong connection to water and the land — and a deep-seated knowledge that when these natural systems do well, so do humans.
It is this drive to help systems and people thrive that influences everything Meghan does. That includes directing, advising, and lecturing on sustainability at The George Washington University (GW) to guiding her daughter and students alike as they learn the full impact of their choices and actions on living systems.
Meghan inspires us for leading the university's efforts to divest from fossil fuel investments and commit to a uniquely bold commitment to go beyond carbon neutrality to removing all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the atmosphere it has produced since its founding in 1821. To start, investing in large-scale solar generation near GW's campus in Washington, D.C. immediately cut the university's GHG emissions by 20 percent. The project also illustrates to tens of thousands of GW students each year – and to the entire nation – the immediate and long-term value of switching to clean energy.
"If we want to make renewable energy the primary source of energy in this country, there is a lot more that needs to happen and happen faster. What motivates me now is helping the next generation learn how to do that."