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More Students at FL Universities Seek Clean Energy for Campus

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According to the International Energy Agency, electricity generation from renewables will increase by 50% in the next five years. Student leaders in Florida hope their universities will commit to using them in the next two decades. (Adobe Stock)
According to the International Energy Agency, electricity generation from renewables will increase by 50% in the next five years. Student leaders in Florida hope their universities will commit to using them in the next two decades. (Adobe Stock)
 By Michayla Savitt, Public News Service - FL - Producer, Contact
March 25, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. -- Student-government leaders from several Florida universities want their schools to commit to using 100% renewable energy.

This week, the student government association at the University of South Florida (USF) passed a resolution asking all power for the school come from renewable sources by 2030, and for a 100% renewable-energy model for all schools in the system by 2040.

It's the fourth Florida school where students have stepped up to demand climate change be a priority in energy consumption.

Ryann Lynn, climate and clean energy advocate at the Environment Florida Research and Policy Center, said more than 50 schools across the country have committed to clean energy, but none are in Florida.

"Colleges and universities are some of the biggest energy users in any given city or community that they're in," Lynn explained. "So, if they are unwilling to make this commitment, that is a lot of fossil fuels that we are continuing to be reliant on."

Lynn's group helped launch the "100% Renewable Campus" campaign at USF, and said questions about the students' efforts have largely been about feasibility, and cost of implementing renewable energy.

Crystal Boutwell, campus organizer for Florida Public Interest Research Group Campus Action at USF, said the clock is ticking to change energy consumption habits.

"It's our reliance on fossil fuels that is one of the biggest contributors to climate change impacts," Boutwell asserted. "And it's also one of the biggest differences that we can make, if we just simply transition to renewable energy. That's one of the biggest differences that we can make as a society, and we're running out of time."

The resolution will now be sent to University President Steven Currall.

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