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DARTMOUTH — The student arm of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, which has a chapter at UMass Dartmouth, has released a 10-point plan to encourage college campuses to use 100 percent renewable energy.
Haylee Becker, who works at UMD as a MASSPIRG organizer, said the chapter has gathered 1,000 signatures this semester on a petition calling for the campus to move to full renewable energy by 2050. They hope one-quarter of the student body — about 2,200 people — will sign.
“If we make those first steps, we can be leaders in the state and set an example,” she said.
The report, “Renewable Energy 101: Ten Tools for Moving Your Campus to 100% Clean Energy,” includes fact sheets on 10 ways to boost renewable energy use, including on-campus solar, wind and geothermal installations; electric-powered modes of transportation; energy efficiency; and buying renewable energy. It was authored by the Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center in partnership with MASSPIRG.
“America’s institutions of higher education can play a leadership role in the fight to prevent the worst impacts of global warming,” the report says. “Colleges and universities across the country should aggressively deploy clean energy on campus, setting a goal to meet all their energy needs with clean renewable resources.”
The UMD campus has a wind turbine and solar panels, and it participates in other sustainability projects, Becker said.
A bill pending in the state legislature would commit Massachusetts to operating on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
Bronte Payne, a Massachusetts-based clean energy advocate for Environment America, said the group hopes that building support on campuses will ultimately boost the state initiative.
Colleges have a critical role to play, according to Rachel Mulroy, environmental justice coordinator with the Coalition for Social Justice.
“Universities and colleges are some of our most valuable anchor institutions,” she said in a press release from MASSPIRG and Environment America.
Colleges and universities spend more than $15 billion per year on energy, so campus commitments can drive significant investment, according to the release.
Eighteen Massachusetts campuses, both public and private, are participating in the project. They include UMass Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell; nine state and community colleges; Boston College; Boston University; Clark University; Smith College; and Tufts University.
Follow Jennette Barnes on Twitter @jbarnesnews.
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