MONTREAT, NC – Representing about 2 percent of the nation’s carbon footprint (as large as an average state) and educating 19 million future world leaders each year, the nation’s colleges and universities are ideal places for innovation to spark a clean energy revolution and produce green jobs for the U.S. Montreat is one of six winning schools that were chosen from a national pool of entries.
Montreat College’s environmental group Seeds is giving students a voice in promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible initiatives in energy conservation and local food production. In one of their most impressive and inspiring programs, Seeds launched their first annual energy-saving competition, the Residence Energy Challenge 2010, as part of an ongoing commitment to improve energy efficiency across campus.
As a result of the competition, Montreat’s campus residents reduced their energy consumption by 19.5 percent and prevented 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Through this incentive-based contest, dorm residents also learned a variety of energy saving techniques and how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Montreat’s Seeds team also implemented a community farm called The Garden of Eatin’, a student-founded initiative that grew out of a desire to learn how to grow their own food and to provide more local produce on campus while enhancing community involvement.
“If each American was to eat locally one meal per week, the nation would save 1.1 million barrels of oil per week,” said student gardener Andrea Thompson. “The Garden exists to help build community, to connect people to each other and the food that they eat. It’s an easy, fun and inexpensive way to reduce our carbon footprint, stimulate the local economy, and educate the student body about healthy eating.
Other winning schools in the Chill Out contest include: Central Carolina Community College (Pittsboro, NC), Baylor University (Waco, TX), Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School, Missouri University of Science & Technology (Rolla, MO), and Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA).
“National Wildlife Federation applauds the efforts of these young innovators who are so energized to protect their future and the future of our planet’s natural resources,” says Jeremy Symons, Senior Vice President of Conservation and Education for National Wildlife Federation. “The educators and students have proved it is possible to significantly reduce the pollution that is fueling global warming, and they are creating a clean energy workforce that is prepared to help decrease our country’s dependence on oil.”
The impressive efforts of the six winners will be broadcast in NWF’s Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus webcast on April 13. The colleges will also receive a monetary award from the National Wildlife Federation to continue exploring innovative clean energy and climate action initiatives. This year’s webcast will be co-hosted by Tara Platt (voice and live-action actress) and Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Superman on CW’s Legion of Superheroes), The free program will celebrate this year’s award winners and showcase initiatives occurring on campuses across the nation. The webcast is an excellent organizing tool and will be available for viewing on-demand after April 13.
Campus leaders all across the country are encouraged to host events on their campuses and in their wider communities to watch the webcast. The program will be part of a series of events scheduled on hundreds of campuses across the country building excitement in the week leading up to Earth Day 2011. Visit www.campuschillout.org for details on hosting a live screening party and to view the webcast.
Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus is proudly supported by The Kendeda Fund, National Association for Campus Activities, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Campus-To-Congress, the Campus Conservation Nationals, and many more partners.
National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program has been an integral leader in the campus greening movement since 1989. In the last two decades they’ve built a library of campus-tailored resources to help thousands of students, faculty and staff at more than one-third of all colleges and universities in crafting programs, incentives, curricula and best practices. As the climate crisis in our country grows, Campus Ecology has also evolved to help campuses tackle the challenges of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities educate as many as 19 million students in any given year, and NWF is committed to partnering with them and fostering the seeds of creativity growing in some our nation’s most important hotbeds of innovation in confronting the climate crisis.
National Wildlife Federation’s mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. Visit www.nwf.org.