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Black and Gold Keeps Getting Greener

Southwestern University prides itself in efforts of sustainability and conservation, and environmental studies majors have implemented a sustainable plan to make Southwestern more green.  In fact, SU has reduced its carbon footprint by 52 percent since 2010.

Since then, Southwestern has won the EPA College and University Green Power Challenge every year due to all of the sustainable efforts on campus. For example, approximately 90 percent of the landscaping is native or drought tolerant, light fixtures in Heather Hall have been replaced with LED lighting fixtures to conserve energy, and the University has a 19,000-gallon rainwater collection system to conserve water.

ElectricCharge2Southwestern’s commitment to sustainability is one of the things that drew sophomore Amanda Blanchard to the University. However, she was shocked to find that SU did not have an electric car charging station for her hybrid car. “The Georgetown Square and Austin Community College both had one, so I felt it was a necessary installment for Southwestern,” she says.

Blanchard spent the first year and a half of her college career writing the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant for the station. She worked closely with Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services Bob Mathis and Supervisor of Mechanical Services Shorty Schwartz, who handled the labor and installation of the station. The station, located in the Office of Admission parking lot, has been fully and successfully functional since the beginning of February.

The electric car charging station is available to the entire Southwestern community including students, faculty, staff and even prospective students. Anyone who wants to use the station can rent an access card from the Business Office. The current rate to use the station is $15 a month, with no contract necessary.

I think this opportunity will give the Southwestern community more options and slowly foster a much needed culture change away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
Amanda Blanchard, Sophomore

“Now that faculty, staff and students (even prospective students) have access to an electric car charging station,” says Blanchard, “I think this opportunity will give the Southwestern community more options and slowly foster a much needed culture change away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. And since our campus runs on 100 percent wind power, charging an electric car on campus would be almost as clean as riding a Pirate Bike!”

Southwestern University is moving toward reducing, reusing and recycling—all ways of replenishing and restoring our Earth! And, just in time for Earth Day, the Princeton Review named Southwestern one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges in its Guide to 353 Green Colleges: 2015 Edition.


Story by Daniella A. Barrera

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