Connecticut College is 1st college to buy Green Power from The Co-op
NEW LONDON, CT — May 11, 2001 — In a move that will support cleaner sources of electricity and significantly reduce its emission of air pollutants, Connecticut College has joined the Connecticut Energy Cooperative as an organizing partner. It is the first college in the United States to commit to support 100 percent, Green-e certified, renewable electricity, according to the co-op.
The co-op, based in Hartford, is a state-approved, licensed electricity supplier that provides its members with commercial natural gas, fuel oil, propane, energy efficiency services, low-cost long-distance telecommunication and electricity. It was the first supplier in New England to offer 100 percent renewable electricity and operates on a not-for-profit patronage basis.
Students at Connecticut College spearheaded the move, raising the funds to join the co-op through student-sponsored bake sales and agreeing to support a $25 increase in their student activity fees to pay the costs associated with purchasing renewable energy from the co-op.
"Our environment is suffering severely," said Sara Zisa, a sophomore and co-president of the Connecticut College Renewable Energy Club. "The students needed to do something." With the support of the student body, Zisa and club co-president Kassie Rohrbach raised the $1,500 needed to join the co-op as an organizing partner and circulated a petition seeking support for the $25 fee. The Student Government Association overwhelmingly supported the initiative and the college's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the measure on May 5.
"Connecticut College students have challenged every other student body in America to accept responsibility for the energy they consume and the pollution their campuses generate," said Bob Maddox, co-op marketing director.
Green-e certification is issued by the Center for Resource Solutions based in San Francisco. That organization administers national and international programs that preserve and protect the environment through the design of sustainable energy strategies and technologies. Companies that use the Green-e logo are monitored and audited by independent companies.
In addition to supporting green power purchases, Connecticut College's students have pledged to work to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the college through reduced energy use. The co-op will assist students, staff and faculty in developing a strategic energy management plan, audit building energy use, suggest ways to use energy more efficiently and conduct educational seminars.
The students' goal is the purchase of 20 percent of the college's electricity through renewable resources. According to the co-op, the full purchase would reduce the emission of sulfur oxide (which causes acid rain) by 17,254 pounds per year, the emission of nitrogen oxide (which causes smog) by 3,612 pounds per year, and the emission of carbon dioxide (which is considered the cause of global warming) by 2.3 million pounds per year.
As an organizing partner, the entire Connecticut College community will have access to all co-op products and services, including reduced lifetime memberships for their private use. The staff and faculty have the opportunity to purchase conventional electricity at 5.25 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) compared to Connecticut Light & Power Co.'s 5.5 cents/kwh cost.
Ulysses Hammond, Connecticut College Vice President for Administration, commended the students for spearheading the effort on campus. "They have been working on this since September," he said, adding that all facets of the campus community were given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision.
"This program is very important to Connecticut College's on-going commitment to be environmentally responsible." Hammond, whose office oversees most of the college's administrative staff, said the benefits provided to the staff (a lower individual membership, free home energy analysis and low long-distance telephone rates in addition to the electricity options) were crucial in gaining support for the co-op program.
Earlier this academic year, Connecticut College received a GreenCircle award from the state Department of Environmental Protection for "promoting pollution prevention, waste reduction, natural resources conservation and/or environmental awareness." The college was cited specifically for separating organic materials for composting or animal feed, successfully implementing an innovative and unique recycling program, exceeding mandatory recycling requirements and for donating time and resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups and community and conservation organizations.
In 2000, Connecticut College became the first in the nation to join forces with Reforest The Tropics, Inc. to convert 36 acres of Costa Rican pasture lands to a forest of 10,000 trees to offset the college's carbon dioxide emissions. This program as well as the renewable energy program complement the mission of the college's Goodwin-Niering Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies, which strives to integrate all areas of learning to deal with the issues of sustainability and the natural environment. Building on a scientific understanding of the natural world, the center invites the social sciences, the humanities and the arts to help understand and solve difficult environmental issues.
Ranked among the most selective private liberal arts colleges in the nation, Connecticut College has an enrollment of 1,670 men and women from 43 states and 59 countries. The college is particularly known for interdisciplinary studies, innovative international programs, paid internships, and a wide range of student-faculty research opportunities. Founded in 1911, the college operates under a 79-year-old honor code and has no Greek system. The scenic 750-acre campus is managed as an arboretum and overlooks Long Island Sound. For more information, see http://www.conncoll.edu/. For more information on the Connecticut Energy Co-op, see http://www.energyforme.com/.
CT Energy Co-op Contact: Bob Maddox (860) 586-2380
Connecticut College Contact: Nina Lentini (860) 439-2505