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Universities Announce Landmark Clean Energy Purchases

The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) are committing to a purchase of 15 percent clean energy today during a statewide sustainability conference in Santa Cruz. The purchase will establish the two universities as the leading university purchasers of renewable electricity nationwide over the next six months.

The UC and CSU will purchase 39,000 and 34,000 megawatt hours of clean energy respectively. Combined, this is enough to supply electricity to 13,800 households in California for half a year. The announcement comes on the heels of a two-year campaign run by university students and Greenpeace. The Renew CSU campaign calls for the CSU Board of Trustees to adopt a comprehensive clean energy and sustainability policy to establish CSU as a leader in efforts to stop global warming. On July 19th the Chancellor’s Office for CSU will bring a draft Sustainability Policy to their Board of Trustees that will include standards for energy conservation, clean energy generation, clean energy purchasing, and sustainable building design. Since 2003, more than 14,000 students and faculty have petitioned the CSU in support of the campaign. Government officials such as Cabinet Secretary Tamminen and Assembly Speaker Nunez, have also endorsed the students’ demands urging the university to take action. “It’s a time of tremendous economic challenge for the institution,” said Jocelyn Orr, a student at Humboldt State University. “We call on other academic institutions to follow their example so that working together, we can minimize the future impacts on global warming.” More than 400 students, staff and faculty participated in the fourth annual statewide sustainability conference sponsored by the University of California at Santa Cruz. The purpose of the conference is to highlight best practices, new technologies, and successful student organizing efforts in green building, clean energy, and campus sustainability. Greenpeace representatives believe the commitment is the kind that should be repeated at the Federal level. “Bravo to CSU and UC administrators and students for the kind of leadership on global warming that the world has been waiting for from the White House,” said John Passacantando, Greenpeace executive director. “Such a contrast in the moral leadership of students with politicians in Washington, DC, who have reneged their responsibility, hasn’t been seen since the civil rights of the 1950’s.”