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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MASSPIRG Embarks Upon Road To 100% Renewable Energy

Renewable+Energy
Renewable Energy

On March 22, the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy with MASSPIRG held a conference to announce their commitment to the goal of statewide renewability by 2050. The journey begins with colleges and universities, they stated, as they are “positioned to lead the transition to 100 percent.”
The co-benefits of shifting toward renewable energy on campuses are wide reaching, their release stated. Beyond the ideological significance of universities demonstrating their innovative capacities and fulfilling their responsibilities to students and the greater public, there are practical reasons too. College campuses often have “physical attributes that make them good locations for hosting clean energy projects,” and, serving “more than 20 million students,” they are large consumers of energy that have the opportunity to “hedge against volatile fossil fuel costs.”
Boston is poised to lead universities across the country in renewability. The city has the highest student population per capita in the country and a multitude of universities; it is the epitome of a “college-town.” Unfortunately, no schools in Boston made it to this year’s top 50 of Princeton Review’s top 361 Green Colleges. However, the University of Massachusetts Boston made it onto the list and was awarded the “University Sustainability Award” by the State of Massachusetts after the ISC achieved LEED Gold Certification.
It’s hard not to consider UMass Boston when thinking of schools that could lead in renewability. The campus has several attributes that make it perfect for increasing its renewability, as it is uniquely windy, has several high, empty rooftops, and is currently covered in construction projects. The school also has an active and significant faculty engaged in environmental studies, and was the first institution to offer a PhD in “Green Chemistry.” According to Tehya Saylor, campus organizer for MASSPIRG at UMass Boston, the opportunity is there and the benefits are significant. Beyond improving public health and energy security, pursuing renewability also “allows us to train” young professionals, including “activists, future leaders and researchers” who can “continue advocacy on clean energy off campus and in their communities.”
There is much more to be done on campus, though, according to the Renewability Campaign. The group aims to accelerate the school’s trajectory toward renewability, and it needs the help of students and faculty. With petitions to demonstrate student and faculty desire for the goal of 100 percent renewable energy in hand, the group will meet with university administrators and state legislatures to generate new projects and legislation that will help achieve this goal.
Sederra Ross, a graduate from the green chemistry program, stated the overall importance of the campaign, saying, “I hope the environment is a right not a privilege, we have the power to give power to the people.”