Harvesting willow trees for biomass in Vermont… turning corn stover into biofuels in Minnesota… these are just a couple examples of projects sponsored by the growing number of colleges and universities in the country that are finding greener alternatives to non-renewable petroleum sources of fuel.
There’s a fascinating story in the Christian Science Monitor about how some of these institutions of higher learning are “walking the walk” by changing they way they operate:
In December 2006, 12 college and university presidents joined together to form the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. They pledged to set target dates for becoming carbon neutral – reducing the carbon emissions from their heating, cooling, electrical, and transportation needs as much as possible and then buying carbon offsets to complete the task. A little more than two years later, 614 colleges and universities in all 50 states have made the commitment. They represent about one-third of the student body at colleges and universities in the United States.
Interest on college campuses in taking steps to slow climate change have “exploded,” says Anthony Cortese, president of Second Nature, a Boston-based nonprofit group that works with colleges on environmental and sustainability issues.
The article goes on to point out how some schools are using these green projects to get donors to underwrite the costs… something considered to be a pretty easy sell in these days of tight markets.