Earthlust, the environmental activist group responsible for convincing the school to obtain 40% of their electrical needs through wind power, is now pushing for 100% wind power. This switch, which would place Swarthmore alongside other entirely wind powered campuses like Haverford, has been garnering support through a rally on Parrish Beach and fireside chat. Ultimately, Earthlust hopes to convince the Sustainability Committee to adopt their proposal.
Camille Rogine ’11 and Blaine O’Neill ’11 of Earthlust explain that wind power “is the most economically feasible renewable energy option for the college.” The wind power is purchased through Community Energy, as opposed to PECO (which supplies most of the electrical needs of southeastern Pennsylvania.)
O’Neill and Rogine point out that the timing of this switch is significant. As the country faces economic uncertainty, a switch to 100% wind power would demonstrate that Swarthmore will “firmly commit and place trust in the alternative energy market.” This could in turn make alternative energy more accessible to others.
In addition, they note that, “This campaign…is an opportunity for Al Bloom to leave a legacy and set the tone for the incoming president.”
The largest stumbling block in convincing the committee, say O’Neill and Rogine, is money. “Though [Swarthmore and the Sustainability Committee] are both interested in making a larger commitment, they are hesitant with the allocation of funds.”
Professor Carr Everbach, Chair of the Sustainability Committee, noted that thus far the committee meetings have voted that the proposal “be taken up and weighed against the other recommendations.” The final decision will be posted on the committee’s website in the first week of December.
In the interim, Earthlust encourages interested student to become involved by reading “Greening Swarthmore,” which outlines several suggestions for improving the campus, as well as joining Earthlust (which meets every Monday at 9pm in Kohlberg). Students can also submit suggestions directly to the Sustainability Committee through the “Green Box.”
Say O’Neill and Rogine: “What’s really important is for students to voice their support or concerns with wind power on campus. The administration needs to hear the voices of a majority of students for any real immediate action to take place.”