The efficient use of existing energy sources and using clean energy is a mission many students are undertaking all over the country. Numerous programs are being established to save energy and encourage the use of energy resources that do not pollute. For those interested in energy programs and ideas, we recommend visiting the following site:
The Alliance to Save Energy
This site offers a useful list of project ideas for the creation of energy-efficient campuses that also utilize clean energy.
In their effort to reduce their campus’ production of greenhouse gases, a small group of students at Washington’s Evergreen State College teamed up with student groups at Western Washington University to create a clean air initiative that proposed 100% clean energy use on Evergreen’s campus. Once they had announced their mission and started to work toward their goal, finding recruits was not a problem. The students proposed and voted for a small fee increase of $1 per class credit to offset the increased cost of buying clean energy from their energy provider. In cooperation with staff and faculty, the students decided that 90% of the accumulated fees would be used to pay the energy bills and the remaining 10% would be at the disposal of a newly established Clean Energy Committee, vested with the job of promoting and investing in clean energy technology and related policies. Because the students would be paying the full expense of this new energy incentive, the administration gave its full support to the project and the school smoothly transitioned into 100% clean energy use. Brad Bishop, the initiative’s student leader, advises groups that want to start a project like this to get to know their local energy company and try to create good relations with the departments on campus whose cooperation will be important for the project’s success. He also mentioned that WashPIRG volunteers (a group part of a nation-wider effort of protecting the environment and promotes sustainability) were instrumental to this project in the beginning because of the number of volunteers needed and their capacity to help a small group of dreamers get a huge project off the ground. If you are interested in doing a project like this one, consider contacting your state PIRG or creating a coalition with like-minded organizations on your campus.
Lest you think students cannot accomplish much because they lack the funds, students nationwide are making great strides on their campuses through pure determination and persistence. Like generations before them, student organizations today still rely on sit-ins, protests, rallies, and peaceful demonstrations in order to affect change. At
Courtesy of Kyoto Now!
University of Texas at
One of the primary causes of global warming is the release of carbon dioxide when vehicles burn fossil fuels; as a result, many groups are trying to find a solution by reducing emissions in cars and buses. At the
A single student or small organization can make a tremendous difference on their campus if there is enough initiative and drive. University of Southern Maine student and former Climate Institute intern, Sarah Ferriter, won two fellowships in order to fund her plan to bring biodiesel fuel to her campus. She established the 2004 USM Biodiesel Initiative, which was supported by the National Wildlife Foundation and the Center for Environmental Citizens. Ferriter wanted to reduce the CO2 emissions of the university’s shuttle fleet by substituting biodiesel, a clean-burning fuel, for the petroleum diesel fuel already in use. Since biodiesel fuel is more expensive than traditional diesel fuel, Ferriter needed to develop a plan to cover the extra cost of operating a shuttle fleet that runs exclusively on biodiesel fuel. She proposed the establishment of a Sustainability Fund that would be funded through charging $1 fee per student per school year. Since the contribution from each student was negligible, there was strong support for the extra fee and it passed. Given the student’s solid support, the USM administration decided against instituting the $1 fee and covered the extra costs with school funds. Since the establishment of the biodiesel initiative, there have been many other campus developments inspired by Ferriter’s first steps. For example, students and staff broadened the initiative to also use biodiesel in campus buildings. So, while Sarah Ferriter is no longer a student at USM, her project lives on and other students at USM are continuing to further her environmental goals.
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