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“Generation E” Lives Green on OR College Campuses



November 30, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. - Green is more than a school color at every state college and university in Oregon: The whole system has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint and energy use. In a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, college students have been dubbed "Generation E" for their commitment to living "greener." They work on campus energy efficiency, transportation and recycling programs and more.

From student fees used to purchase clean energy at the University of Oregon to the Linfield College taste test of locally grown foods, these efforts don't surprise Bob Simonton, assistant vice-chancellor for capital programs, Oregon University System. He says they give students an entry into "green" careers, as well as help conserve energy and natural resources.

"Each campus has a sustainability coordinator actively working with students and with green projects - recycling, transportation, and these research projects that we're putting together."

One goal is to produce at least half of the energy used by the university system through green technology, Simonton says, and some of the degree programs will produce graduates with real-world experience in these fields. Companies that share their technology with the schools get Business Energy Tax Credits for doing so, he explains, adding that he hopes the legislature keeps those credits in place.

The campuses are involved in five types of energy projects - geothermal, wave energy, solar, wind and biomass - and Simonton is proud that Oregon companies with new technology in these areas have come forward as partners.

"Having a market to demonstrate their products is a great benefit to the industry, and it allows our students real-world experience. There are all kinds of different things that the students can get involved with - any of the demonstration projects."

The "Generation E" report is available at www.nwf.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR
 

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