A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices


Going Green: Campus by Campus

By Bill Kovarik
NORTH CAROLINA
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC - ASU’s wide ranging Renewable Energy Initiative began over a decade ago with the founding of the Sustainable Energy Society. It expanded in 2004 when students approved a green fee of $5 per student to fund renewable energy projects. The fee raises around $150,000 per year and has been used to match other grants. On-campus projects have included a biodiesel station, a set of solar photovoltaic panels, an affordable bioshelter project and a feasibility study for small wind generators.
ASU’s Biodiesel Collaborative consists of a 10,000 gallon tank of B20 fuel – a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel – that fuels ASU’s AppalCart, the university and community public transportation system. B20 reduces CO2 and particulate emissions from diesel engines.
The biodiesel project was a key initial project for the renewable energy initiative, made up of a committee of seven students and five faculty members who decide on how money is spent from the green fee. It was also supported by a 2006 EPA “P3” grant (People, Prosperity, Planet). These strong student initiatives reflect the fact that ASU is a regional leader in renewable energy education. https://www.at.appstate.edu/student_projects.html

Duke University, Durham, NC – Beginning in 2003, Duke started purchasing green power and now buys 31% of its campus energy, or 54 Million KWhrs, from small hydro and wind producers through Sterling Planet and others.
Duke’s environmental alliance is also involved in promoting energy, recycling, green dining (especially cutting down trash), alternative transportation, green films and green purchasing. https://www.duke.edu/web/env_alliance
Also at Duke: The Fox Student Center is buying 100 percent green power and has been LEED certified. Duke is a member of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Also, the president has signed the climate commitment. https://www.duke.edu/sustainability/
Guilford College, Greensboro, NC -The installation of 12 solar hot water panels on Shore Hall (see above photo) shows that the university is serious about signing the President’s Climate Commitment. “Guilford has a long-standing commitment to environmental protection,” said President Kent Chabotar. “However, it will not be enough just to sign the commitment. We must invest time and money to support sustainability efforts that our students and employees are ready and able to accomplish.”

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - In 2003, three-quarters of voting students at UNC-Chapel Hill supported a $4 per semester fee increase to fund the installation of renewable energy technologies on campus. Originally slated to last only two years, the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee (RESPC) continues to generate projects on campus. An initial project involved installation of solar thermal panels on Morrison Residence Hall. Currently the group is working on green building improvements to achieve platinum-level LEED certification for the Botanical Gardens. UNC has also signed the President’s Climate Commitment. https://respc.unc.edu/aboutrespc.html

University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC - The student government approved a green fee in Spring of 2007. A committee will be assembled to allocate funds from the Green Fee to projects that will lessen UNC-Charlotte’s environmental footprint. Projects will potentially include things like solar-thermal water heating for the dorms, biodiesel production on campus, on-site energy generation for buildings through solar power, white LED lights for the campus street lights, and other energy-saving, cost-saving ideas. https://www.sco.uncc.edu/EarthClub/

Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC - After a year long effort by the Environmental Action Club and the Campus Greening Crew, Warren Wilson College in 2006 began purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from Sterling Planet to offset 100% of its electricity use. A student fee of $20-25 per year provides approximately $20,000 to offset its 4.4 million kilowatt hour electricity use.
Warren Wilson has also signed the President’s Climate Commitment and has developed an Eco-Dorm. The college was selected by the Environmental Educators of North Carolina as its 2004 Outstanding Environmental Organization. In 2005, it received a “Standing Ovation” award from the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency.

TENNESSEE
Tennessee universities are leading the green campus movement in the Appalachian region due to strong support from the University of Tennessee Board of Regents. In the past three years, the board has approved sustainable campus fees at six state universities: Austin Peay State University, the University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee—Knoxville. Most of the fees are in the $10 per semester range. The Board also approved sustainable campus guidelines to facilitate other campuses’ enrollment in similar programs. The guidelines outline appropriate use of fees and provide criteria for expenses.

Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN -- The Student Organization to Advance Renewable Energy (SOARE), created in 2005, brought a $10 per student renewable energy initiative to a vote in 2006. SOARE also promotes renewable energy adoption on campus and in the community along with seminar topics such as mountaintop removal mining and green cars. https://www.apsu.edu/SOARE/

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN -- Started a student fee of $8 in 2005 and formed the student group Tennessee Alumni & Students for Sustainable Campuses (TASSC).

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN -- Ecological Decisions for a Global Environment (EDGE) led a successful campaign in support of the Clean Campus Initiative. With 12% of the total student population in support of bringing renewable energy, efficiency, recycling, and other sustainability efforts to the campus, this year should prove to be exciting. The campus is currently researching electric bus routes and sustainable fuels.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN -- Diesel vehicles at UT Knoxville are using left-over cooking oil from the campus food service for biodiesel, according to the campus green team, ESPEAK -- https://web.utk.edu/%7Espeak/. On Earth Day 2004, UT Knoxville announced that it would “establish the Knoxville campus as a model of environmental stewardship.”
Working with many campuses is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Switch program: https://www.tva.com/greenpowerswitch/ TVA

KENTUCKY
Berea College, Berea, KY– Strongly committed to environmental education, Berea launched biocycling projects ten years ago and continues with a variety of student-supported projects. Most recently Berea dedicated a solar photovoltaic array on the alumni building. Through the Ten by Ten campaign, the college plans to meet ten percent of its energy needs with renewables by 2010.

University of Kentucky, Louisville, KY -- In 2006, the University of Kentucky turned down a student fee initiative saying the school was already doing enough. Students who led the initiative with Green Thumb were disappointed. Some thought that the university worried that supporting a green initiative would send the wrong political signal at a time when surface coal mining is controversial. However, the university did commit to conducting a campus energy audit, hiring a full-time sustainability coordinator for campus, reducing energy usage 5-10% and looking into LEED certification for new buildings. https://www.uky.edu/studentorgs/greenthumb

SOUTH CAROLINA
The South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses and Communities (SCASCC) is lobbying for green building legislation by staging two lobby days with the Conservation Voters of South Carolina. They met with all 22 members of the committees where the bills will be introduced.

VIRGINIA
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA – Following two years of strong activity by students, the president and board of visitors formed the Presidential Commission on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The group will perform an energy audit of the university and develop a 5-year recommendation scheme for implementation of ambitious energy and sustainability changes. https://climatechallenge.org/node/869

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA – Campaign to have a green fee was not successful, although all new buildings will be LEED certified.

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA – Campaign for a green fee unsuccessful. Also signing the President’s Climate Commitment: Ferrum College, George Mason University, Hollins University, James Madison University, Lynchburg College, Norfolk State University, Randolph College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, Virginia Wesleyan College, Washington and Lee University.

Radford University, Radford, VA -- Green Team hosted a presentation by Tom Watson, the former Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, and put his presentation on the web. The Green Team also toured mountaintop removal sites. https://php.radford.edu/~envirctr/

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