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WVU to Lead the State In Energy Efficiency
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by Christy Hartman, SSC Vice-President | 2007

The WVU Sierra Student Coalition chapter is busy on Energy issues both in Morgantown and in Charleston.

The Sierra Student Coalition at West Virginia University has recently made tremendous progress on the Campus Climate Challenge, a nation-wide project to promote alternative energy solutions on college campuses. The Student Government Association voted unanimously to endorse two resolutions set forth by the SSC. Resolution 2007-01 expresses the SGA’s best wishes for the pursuit of our goals. However, resolution 2007-02 received tremendous support and provides full support of all issues raised by the SSC proposal to contain: including LEED or ASHRAE 90.1 building efficiency standards into all planned University buildings and most major renovations, including ongoing energy auditing and re-commissioning into formal maintenance procedures, and contracting with ESCO’s to conduct profitable efficiency upgrades on all University facilities within the next five years, and implementing at least one initiative from the SSC’s transportation initiative menu by next year, and committing to achieve Clean or Efficient Fleet standards by 2020 and committing to a plan to reduce individual trips to campus by 30% by 2020, and establishing a recycling drop off point on each floor of every building which is accessible to students and faculty by spring semester of 2008 and initiating a parallel recycling education program, and endeavoring to educate all students on effective ways to conserve energy. The next step in the Campus Climate Challenge is to bring the resolutions to the Faculty Senate and try to get them passed there.

Regarding the proposed Bottle Bill, six SSC members traveled to Charleston to lobby senators and delegates. They dropped off a can with nearly every delegate, along with a flier listing benefits of the Bottle Bill. Increased state wide recycling measures would help the university increase its overall recycling numbers. At a school with nearly 30,000 students, WVU represents a huge bottle turnover potential. Hopefully the delegates and senators got our point and vote to support the Bottle Bill before the end of the session.

On the political home front, the SSC recently hosted the SGA presidential and vice presidential candidates to hear an informal presentation of their platforms. This open forum was an opportunity for students to come out and see how important the candidate’s viewed environmental issues on campus. There was some discussion about endorsing a candidate, but the group decided it would be best to only unofficially express our support.

This year, the SSC will return in April to the Canaan Valley to plant red spruce trees. Last year nearly 5,000 trees were planted in one weekend.

The SSC’s ultimate goal is to see WVU go 100% carbon neutral. As the state’s largest public university, the SSC feels that the school should set the example. This year we are kicking up the effort and pushing for immediate solutions to the climate crisis. There is no better day than today and no time to waste.

Editor’s note: A recent article in the Dominion Post noted that WVU and Siemens Building Technology, Inc. had announced the implementation of a project to significantly reduce the annual energy and water usage in WVU’s educational facilities. Plans also call for student participation in an educational and awareness program in responsible energy use.

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