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Report: “Generation E” Emerges on College Campuses in MT

November 23, 2009

MISSOULA, Mont. - Baby boomers, Generation X, and now 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. Thousands of projects at 160 campuses across the country have been documented, including the nation's only student-run transit system at the University of Montana; it's financed through self-assessed student fees.

Report contributor Julian Keniry, who is senior director of campus and community leadership with the National Wildlife Federation, says they found that the sustainability movement has grown beyond recycling.

"The level of engagement we're seeing is unprecedented. There are these examples that just show that there is a level of engagement that we haven't seen in more than 20 years."

She says that, most importantly, the report quashes the myth that students are apathetic when it comes to the clean-energy economy. Another example of that in the report is that Montana State University-Bozeman spends more than $300,000 a year on local farm products for dining services.

Keniry 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."

She also says that, while gathering campus information, they learned it was difficult for many projects to get off the ground because of resistance from school administrators.

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

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT