"Human-influenced global climate change is the defining scientific and social problem of our age," University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel told a gathering of U of M leaders Thursday. "And a significant component of this growing crisis is due to the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy."
Schlissel announced to the audience that he is committed during his presidency to moving the University toward a net zero carbon footprint.
He said he will soon establish a presidential commission, that will include faculty experts, to create a timetable and a plan to achieve this goal.
"I'm really confident between our intellect and our passion, our power to convene, our private sector partners, our amazing alumni network, the rapid pace of technological development, I think we can be amongst the leaders in this really important challenge," said Schlissel.
According to Schlissel, the U of M is on its way to meeting or exceeding an earlier goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent over a 2006 baseline by the year 2025.
Schlissel also announced that the U of M has broken a noteworthy record for raising money.
"It is the first public university ever to raise $5 billion dollars in a fundraising campaign," said Schlissel. "More than 382,000 donors contributed in support of our mission."
And almost all the donors gave less than $5,000.
Schlissel said more than $1 billion of the money raised will go to support students in Ann Arbor. Most of that will be for financial aid. And more than $1.4 billion will go to patient care and research at Michigan Medicine.