Sunday, July 28, 2013

WWU Makes it into the EPA's Top 20 List for Green Energy

Last week, a headline from "Western Today"  having to do with the EPA's ranking of Green Energy purchasers caught my eye. According to the latest list of "Green Power Partners," WWU ranks 18 out of the top 20 academic institutions committed to supporting renewable energy. What's really cool is to read the Power Partner Profile about WWU, which explains how in 2005, WWU became the first higher education institution in the country to purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates), to apply to 100% of the electricity consumed by the university. (And on a side-note, did you know the city of Bellingham is also a Green Power Community Partner? You can read more about that here.)

This is another example of the positive influence of student initiatives and student clubs here at Western. According to WWU's  Power Partner Profile, Students for Renewable Energy first introduced the plan to purchase green power 10 years ago in 2003. Then in 2004, 85% of the voting student body approved this plan, and final approval from the Board of Trustees was granted in 2005.

In 2010, Western students also approved increasing the Green Energy Fee in order to fund campus sustainability projects and alternative energy production. As you probably know by now, I am a HUGE fan of the Green Energy Fee Grant Program. It offers students, faculty, and staff awesome opportunities to collaborate on exciting educational projects that can positively impact both Western and the world.

Currently, there are a lot of great things happening here at WWU, both with student clubs and also through the ongoing projects sponsored by the Green Energy Fee Grant Program. For example, Project MUG has continued its pilot throughout the summer quarter and has had quite a bit of success. Also, clubs like Students for Renewable Energy are still hard at work exploring Divestment options.

Which just makes me think...when we reflect back upon the last ten years and consider what has already been accomplished, it's kind of exciting to ponder the question: what will the next ten years bring? If we can continue to combine the creative efforts of such an active and engaged student body, with the collaborative energies from the rest of Western's community, the possibilities truly are endless!

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