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Report: “Generation E” Emerges in Organic Farm on Nevada Campus

November 23, 2009

RENO, Nev. - There've been baby boomers, Generation X, and now there's Generation E, where the "E" ties into ecology, clean-energy economics and social equity. It's the term used in a new report to describe the leaders of the sustainability movement on college campuses, including the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

Dr. Jennifer Huntley-Smith, associate director for academics and outreach of the Academy for the Environment at UNR), supervised an organic farm project started by two UNR students. She says the students selected locally-grown food to demonstrate sustainability, because food grown and consumed in Nevada negates the need for long-distance trucking and the global-warming pollution that goes with it.

"The average piece of food travels 1500 miles from where it's grown to where it's consumed, and so just cutting down on the amount of transportation that it takes means less of a carbon footprint for that food."

The NWF report documents thousands of projects at 160 campuses across the country.

Report contributor Julian Keniry, senior director of campus and community leadership for the NWF, says investigators learned it was difficult for many projects to get off the ground because of resistance from school administrators. And she notes that sustainability has yet to become a standard part of university curricula.

"If you're studying the health sciences, business, engineering, you're unlikely to graduate having taken any course on sustainability or environment."

The Student Farm at UNR is closed now, because its two-year land lease ran out. But one unintended benefit of the project is that the school's dining halls now purchase more locally-grown produce.

The full report, "Generation E: Students Leading for a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future," is available online at
www.nwf.org

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV