University of Colorado Students Vote "Yes" For Wind Power!
BOULDER, CO (CU Environmental Center) — April 17, 2000 — In the largest student voter turnout in University of Colorado history, students voted by a 5 to 1 margin to increase student fees by $1 per semester for 4 years to purchase wind power from Public Service Company of Colorado's Ponnequin wind farm. This clean, renewable source of energy will lower campus emissions of CO2 by 2.8 million pounds every year. The increase in fees will raise $50,000 per year, enough to purchase the output of an entire wind turbine (2 million kWh per year), making CU-Boulder the largest university purchaser of wind power in the nation! The issue was placed on the ballot after 1,300 students signed a petition in favor of purchasing wind for 3 buildings on campus (the Student Union, the Health Center, and the Recreation Center). Students votes showed an overwhelming amount of support of wind energy, with 5,178 in favor and 1,096 opposed, the largest margin of any referendum on this spring's ballot.
Many volunteers from the student group Clean Energy Now! along with the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies ran a week long campaign including handing out colorful pinwheels and information about wind power and its benefits. A "CU wind farm" comprised of hundreds of pinwheels covered a lawn in the center of campus.
"You couldn't walk around campus without seeing students carrying pinwheels," said Ghita Levenstein, the Energy Program Coordinator of the Environmental Center, "we hope this is just the beginning of the use of clean energy here at CU, as well as a model for other universities and organizations to follow."
CU students have a history of environmental leadership. The campus recycling program was started in response to student activism as was the student bus pass program.
"We salute the initiative of CU students to address the global issue of reducing the use of fossil fuels. This action will allow the University to take an important first step in responding to what may be the biggest environmental and economic issue of this century," stated Rudd Mayer, Green Energy Program Director at the Boulder based Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, a regional group that works on clean energy policies in the west. Will Toor, director of the CU Environmental Center and Mayor of Boulder said, "It's inspiring to see such support for environmental protection from CU's students. They are showing that they are willing to back up their values with their money."
Pictures of the campaign and the Ponnequin wind farm are available, please call (303) 492-3229 for copies.