Climate Action Manager

Swarthmore College |

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.

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 leading the College’s award winning Carbon Charge program, managing updates to the College’s Climate Action Plan, leading projects to increase renewable energy and decrease carbon emissions associated with the College, and developing strategies to address emissions from Scopes 1, 2, and 3 including from the central plant, campus buildings, transportation, air travel, and purchasing.

Swarthmore established the Carbon Charge Program 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 $300,000 annually for greenhouse gas emissions reducing sustainability 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 developing and implementing the program and will collaborate with other institutions to share the model more widely.

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, and Finance staff on the Roadmap to Zero: Energy Infrastructure Master Plan and other related carbon reduction activities. The position leads and provides project management, and coordination for a variety of complex efforts including planning for energy efficiency and building optimization, onsite and offsite solar projects, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with 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.

Swarthmore is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. Swarthmore’s major sources of emissions include electricity procurement, burning natural gas, transportation, construction, and embedded carbon in procured items. To chart the College’s pathway to neutralizing all emissions from electricity and natural gas, Sustainability, Facilities, Finance, and Information Technology collaborate on the Roadmap to Zero: Energy Infrastructure Plan. This position will be a part of the Roadmap to Zero Core Team and Steering Committee that is planning for and will implement strategies to create a resilient energy system that provides reliable, safe, sustainable, and cost-effective electricity, heating, and cooling to support Swarthmore’s educational mission.

The position will manage projects to reduce campus carbon emissions. Such projects may include improving campus metering, measuring and reducing air travel, exploring low-carbon commuting options, and being part of sustainable construction projects. This position will annually mentor and collaborate with 3-5 students in the President’s Sustainability Research Fellow Program on climate protection related projects, as well as advise students doing internships, research, and coursework related to climate protection. This position will supervise student interns in the Office of Sustainability and take responsibility for ensuring that the student body is deeply engaged in campus climate action work.

Essential Responsibilities

• Planning, Research and Analysis – this position will take the lead in research, analysis, and reporting and make strategic decisions and recommendations on a variety of topics relevant to implementation of the Carbon Charge and climate protection activities. This may include carbon pricing, carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable energy, developing and tracking metrics, energy efficiency, data visualization and building optimization, 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. This position will lead evaluation of candidates, consultants, and products that the College considers working with, oversee technical work with outside consultants, and develop our Climate Action Plan to chart the path to carbon neutrality by 2035.

• Committee Leadership – 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 including Yale University, the University of British Columbia, Smith College, and the University of California to advance carbon pricing in higher education through issuing reports and providing resources to other institutions interested in adopting carbon pricing policies.

• Project Management – Take a leadership role in collaborative projects that involve Facilities, ITS, and Finance and Administration to design strategies and oversee implementation of contracts with engineering, building efficiency, and greenhouse gas mitigation consultants, as appropriate. Currently these projects 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. These projects will evolve over time and in the future may include developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy use in buildings, improve building metering and measurement and verification protocols, and effectively telling the story of these efforts to donors, alumni, and the campus community.

• Committee Participation – this position participates in the Roadmap to Zero Core Team and Steering Committee, providing both key insights and recommendations and offering staff support to the committee including meeting coordination, documentation, agenda planning, etc. This position will regularly be invited to lead and/or join committees, task forces, and work groups related to climate protection.

• Communications, Documentation, and Publicity – The College aims for the Carbon Charge program to serve as a role model for other institutions. This position publicizes and promotes the Carbon Charge and climate protection work, develops materials that can drive other institutions’ efforts, and communicates internally with the Swarthmore community. The Carbon Charge program has won awards, co-authored a national guidebook for carbon pricing in higher education, and advised multiple campuses on establishing their own such program. This position takes on a leadership role, along with staff from Second Nature, Yale University, and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, in promoting carbon pricing in higher education.

• Community Engagement – An important goal of the Carbon Charge is to encourage behavioral change and informed decision making to help the College reduce its carbon emissions. To accomplish this, it is important that the entire campus community is informed and able to participate in this effort. This position leads efforts to engage the campus and local community in climate protection. Duties for this area may include leading events to share information and gather input on the implementation of the Carbon Charge, attending meetings and conducting outreach activities, representing Swarthmore regionally and nationally, and collaborating with other organizations and departments.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Other job related duties as assigned
  • Core Competency
  • Commitment to Swarthmore Values
  • Collaboration / Team Orientation
  • Adaptability / Flexibility
  • Job Skills and Functional Knowledge
  • Ability to perform work that requires consistent exercise of discretion and judgment
  • Knowledge and experience working with renewable energy, greenhouse gas inventories, etc.

Supervisory Responsibilities
This position will supervise the work of student interns and outside consultants.

Qualifications Required

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Demonstrated interest in environmental and social sustainability and climate protection through previous work, volunteer experience, and/or academic experience
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, data compilation and analysis, and organizational skills
  • Ability to work with a high degree of independent judgment and discretion under general supervision
  • 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; civic, mechanical, and/or electrical engineering expertise; campus metering and measurement and verification of energy efficiency and conservation expertise; carbon pricing policy expertise; heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) technology expertise; renewable energy, greenhouse gas mitigation, resilience planning, and/or life cycle cost analysis expertise.


  • Six or more years of related professional experience
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field strongly preferred
  • Experience working in either an Office of Sustainability or a Facilities Management position
  • Familiarity with Swarthmore’s administrative structures and policies

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.

Physical Demands
Must be able to remain in a stationary position 50% of the time, occasionally moves equipment or boxes weighing up to 40 pounds across campus for various activity needs.

Working Conditions/Environment
Will need to participate in regular weekend or evening events, meetings, or other activities.

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