It really is inspiring to see that there are more and more colleges that are becoming eco-friendly. For instance, Ithaca College (New York) was the first undergraduate business school in the entire world to earn a LEED platinum certification, in part, for its vegetated roof. Evergreen State College (Washington) has earned national praise for its organic farm that is used as a tool for agriculture class as well as providing produce to eateries on campus. The University of California is another school with a “first” title. It is first building in the United States to earn two LEED platinum certifications for its solar panel roofing as well as being made out of recycled materials.
And then there’s Indiana University.
Although it is usually thought about (at least on a national level) when it comes to sports, the school has currently been receiving quite a bit of media attention due to the fact that it’s now four years old “Coal Free Campaign” has been thriving in such a significant and influential way.
When (now senior) Lauren Kastner first stepped foot onto the campus, she helped to start a movement that she hoped would help to make the college a better place. This week, she and the members of the coal-free club are taking even bigger strides by using a campus-wide call-in and email campaign to encourage (and some might even say “demand”) Indiana University’s Board of Trustees to transition out of using coal and replacing it with more of a clean energy initiative.
This is a relevant pursuit because although power plants are regulated by both federal and state laws, when coal is actually burned, it releases carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide as well as mercury compounds into the atmosphere. Not only that, but extremely large quantities of water are needed in order to remove the impurities that are in coal once they are taken out of various coal mines. So, by being more proactive with a clean energy approach, it’s not only physically safer, but it helps to protect one of our greatest resources: water.
Reportedly, the campaign is going well. Many students have gotten busy signals or been sent straight to voicemail due to the influx of students who are participating. And, although Kastner and the other members of the club have yet to release an official tally, they are encouraged by what the end results will bring. To them, it’s a matter of showing the administration that whether it’s an agriculture student, an English major or even someone who is currently pursuing their ADN to MSN online, none of the participating students want their desire for a more energy-efficient campus to be ignored. Being that they are paying tuition to attend the school, being that they are also playing a role in paying for the utilities and resources on the campus, many would say that they are well within their rights to take such a firm stand. Those individuals would be right.
Hopefully, this kind of campaign will inspire other students on other campuses to do their part. After all, every student is worthy of being a part of a safe environment, in every possible way.