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Climate Action Manager

Apply now Job no: 495369
Work type: Full Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff, Salary (Exempt)

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods.

Who We Are:

Swarthmore College has a long history of honoring the natural environment and working to protect both it and the people who depend on it. The Office of Sustainability supports and inspires the College community to integrate sustainability into all aspects of campus life: teaching, learning, operations, and culture. This includes working towards a carbon neutral and zero waste campus, offering curricular and co-curricular programs for students, creating opportunities for the campus community to engage with sustainability and participate in systems change, and much more.

The opportunity:

This position will report to the Director of Sustainability and under general supervision will lead climate protection activities across the institution and in partnership with other organizations. This includes managing developing strategies and leading projects to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the College’s award-winning Carbon Charge program, and overseeing outreach and engagement efforts with the campus community and other groups focused on climate action. 

The climate action manager will work with the Director of Sustainability, the Associate Vice President for Sustainable Facilities Operation and Capital Planning, ITS, Maintenance, Capital Planning, Finance staff and other key stakeholders to support implementation of the College’s carbon neutrality plan, focusing especially on Scope 3 emissions reduction strategies. The position will also support implementation of To Zero by Thirty-Five, the College’s Energy Plan that charts the path to eliminating Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in support of the College’s 2035 carbon neutrality commitment. Related projects may include measuring and reducing air travel, exploring low-carbon commuting options, evaluating options for carbon offsets, and being part of sustainable construction projects. The climate action manager also oversees student engagement around these projects, including organizing campus programming and mentoring student interns.

This position will manage the Carbon Charge Program, which was established in 2016 to incentivize emissions reductions, engage the community, fund sustainability work, and build momentum for climate solutions. The Carbon Charge levies a fee on departments and offices for campus emissions that provides more than $300,000 annually for greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects. The program also includes a shadow price on carbon that is integrated into cost benefit analysis for capital planning decisions. This position will lead the Carbon Charge Committee in ongoing management and improvement of the program to continue meeting the needs of the College.

This position also plays a strategic leadership role in outreach, education, research, and projects to help Swarthmore respond to the urgency of climate change in teaching, learning, operations, and community engagement. The position oversees communication efforts for the Office of Sustainability, including social media and other campus communication efforts, and collaborates with other members of the Office of Sustainability team. The climate action manager will also support the College’s annual delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) and related campus engagement efforts, which includes organizing pre-departure workshops and possibly attending the conference.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Planning, Research and Analysis – this position will take the lead in research, analysis, and reporting and make recommendations on a variety of topics relevant to the College’s carbon neutrality commitment. This may include carbon pricing, carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable energy, developing and tracking metrics, energy efficiency, data visualization, and other topics as necessary and as opportunities arise. This position will conduct research and present findings to inform the College’s decisions related to climate protection. The position will serve as the primary lead on data tracking initiatives for the Office of Sustainability related to greenhouse gas emissions, energy, and other indicators. 
  • Project Management – Take a leadership role in collaborative projects that involve Facilities, ITS, and Finance and Administration to support projects that may include the development of onsite solar PV, procurement of offsite renewable energy in collaboration with other colleges and universities, completing the annual greenhouse gas inventory, and overseeing implementation of the Green Revolving Loan Fund. This position will lead efforts to implement strategies to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Committee Leadership and Participation– this position provides leadership and strategic direction to the Carbon Charge Program. This program funds improvements to campus metering and measurement; funds, tracks, and measures energy efficiency projects through the Green Revolving Fund; educates our campus community about the value of pricing carbon; and works with other higher education institutions to advance carbon pricing in higher education through issuing reports and providing resources to other institutions interested in adopting carbon pricing policies. The climate action manager chairs the Carbon Charge Working Group, which oversees these efforts. This position participates in the Roadmap to Zero Core Team providing both key insights and recommendations and offering staff support to the committee. This position may also be invited to lead and/or join committees, task forces, and work groups as necessary.
  • Communications, Documentation, and Publicity – The College aims to serve as a leader and role model in climate action amongst higher education institutions. This position publicizes and promotes To Zero by Thirty-Five, the Carbon Charge and other climate protection work, develops materials that can drive other institutions’ efforts, and communicates internally with the Swarthmore community.
  • Community Engagement – This position leads efforts to engage the campus and local community in climate action activities. Duties for this area may include leading events to share information and gather input on the implementation To Zero by Thirty-Five and other efforts; attending meetings and conducting outreach activities, representing Swarthmore regionally and nationally, and collaborating with other organizations and departments. The climate action manager also oversees a micro-grant program that provides funding to the campus community to pursue climate-related activities.
  • Student Mentorship – This position will mentor 1-3 students in the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship, a high-impact engaged scholarship program that matches students with a faculty or staff mentor to lead a campus sustainability program. The climate action manager will also supervise 1-2 interns during the academic year and summer focused on various topics, such as communications and social media and greenhouse gas accounting. This position also supports the annual COP delegation, which may include attending the conference.

Supervisory Responsibilities

This person will supervise the work of approximately 2-4 student interns.

Who you are:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication, data compilation and analysis, and organizational skills; ability to communicate complex information to diverse audiences
  • Ability to work with a high degree of independent judgment and discretion under general supervision.

What you bring:

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Demonstrated interest in environmental and social sustainability and climate action through previous work, volunteer experience, and/or academic experience.
  • Four years of professional work experience or the equivalent combination of work experience and education.
  • Technical knowledge in at least three of the following areas: green building design and operation as evidenced by project experience and/or a LEED AP professional accreditation; greenhouse gas accounting; building energy efficiency and conservation; carbon pricing policy; renewable energy, carbon offsets, sustainable transportation, global climate policy, greenhouse gas mitigation, resilience planning, and/or life cycle cost analysis expertise.
  • Availability for occasional evening, weekend, and/or holiday work with advance notice.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Six or more years of related professional experience.
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field strongly preferred.
  • Experience working in higher education.

What You Will Get:

You’ll work at one of the world's most renowned liberal arts Colleges, with incredible benefits, a stunning 420-acre campus, and a collaborative work environment. Join a team of passionate, creative people who work hard and have fun supporting the College students, faculty, and staff.

We want to hear from you if you are excited about this role! For full consideration, submit applications with pay expectations, including a resume and cover letter, by Friday, April 12, 2024.

PA Criminal Required

Swarthmore College requires a PA Criminal background check for all staff positions prior to the start of employment.

Education Verification Required by Position

An education verification is required for this position because a college degree is a required qualification for this position.

Review the 2024 Benefits Flyer. We offer benefit plans starting at zero cost! Upon benefit eligibility, the College contributes 10% of an employee’s salary to their retirement account. Employees are 100% vested in their accounts on the date participation begins.

Swarthmore Benefits Guidebook

Retirement Plans

Tuition Grant Program

Tuition Reimbursement Program

Paid Time Off (Staff)

Holiday Schedule

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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