Thursday, April 18, 2013
UNT environmental group petitions university to use only renewable energy
UNT currently operates at 40 percent renewable resources.
DENTON The UNT OFF Fossil Fuels group is currently pushing a student petition for UNT to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2015.
The group focuses on many of environmental issues, and is part of the Denton OFF Fossil Fuels group.
“We just want to see UNT not contribute to the problem [environmental pollution],” said biology senior and UNT OFF Fossil Fuels member Rebekah Hinojosa.
This petition is part of a campaign dating back to 2010 to take the university completely off fossil fuels, Hinojosa said.
That campaign has gathered more than 4,000 signatures from supporters and about 600 letters have been written to university President V. Lane Rawlins concerning the movement to sustainability, Hinojosa said.
The current petition started April 1 and requires 1,250 student signatures, or else it will be put before the Student Government Association for it to be addressed this semester, said SGA vice president Justin Wood.
At time of print, the petition has about 400 signatures, and only UNT students can sign. The group hopes to build off a clean energy resolution that SGA passed in 2010, Hinojosa said.
“We are using [the petition] as a way to say that students are totally on board,” said Michael Wiley, rehabilitation studies senior and UNT OFF Fossil Fuels member.
In 2011, UNT was one of three Texas universities to be named a “Green College” by the Princeton Review. The award was in part due to the university recycling more than 600 tons of material, and 40 percent of energy on campus being “derived from renewable sources provided by Denton’s municipality.”
Three wind turbines across from Apogee Stadium also provide energy for the university.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, 16 universities have switched to renewable energy, including Cornell University and Clemson University.
Under plans supported by the current petition, a student would have to pay a $4.50 fee per semester to fund the move to renewable energies, Hinojosa said.
If the petition were approved by SGA it would become a resolution to be addressed by university administration such as vice president of student affairs Elizabeth With and Rawlins.
Wood said he encouraged the group to push for a petition next semester.
“It looks like it’s possible that President Rawlins has already been working on getting clean electricity from the city of Denton, so the petition would be irrelevant,” Wood said.
Wood cannot confirm whether Rawlins and other administration are planning to minimize UNT’s environmental footprint, but he said he believes future plans are on the horizon and that he would meet with Rawlins on behalf of SGA next week.
The petition can be found on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/UNT-OFF-Fossil.
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