North Texas Daily

We Mean Green Fund grant allows UNT 2 more years of fully sustainable energy

We Mean Green Fund grant allows UNT 2 more years of fully sustainable energy

We Mean Green Fund grant allows UNT 2 more years of fully sustainable energy
October 13
12:19 2018

UNT will continue to use 100 percent renewable energy for two more years due to a $120,000 grant from the We Mean Green Fund.

UNT obtains the majority of its renewable energy by means of purchasing renewable energy credits, or electricity that is produced at off-campus facilities. This is a more sustainable alternative to nonrenewable electricity that would use fossil fuels and increase UNT’s carbon footprint. UNT will purchase the renewable energy credits from Denton Municipal Electric.

UNT is projected to rank No.1  among universities in Texas with renewable energy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.

Dr. Adam Briggle, assistant professor in environmental philosophy, said UNT’s environmental efforts are an underappreciated part about the university. Using renewable energy plays a big role in UNT’s “green” image.

“On a regional level, it’s important for air quality concerns,” Briggle said. “The great thing about renewables is that there’s zero emissions.”

Briggle is the principle investigator on the project and has other ideas for how UNT could be more sustainable. He said transportation can be improved, and he wants the university to transition to a “cleaner fuel system.”

Despite UNT’s efforts to be seen as environmentally friendly, Briggle said he believes there is more work to be done. Briggle said civic engagement is a good way for people to learn how to transform infrastructure to be more sustainable for future generations.

“On a global level, it’s important for everybody to chip in to try to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases, which cause climate change and problems that cascade off that,” Briggle said.

Biology sophomore Kelson Kanu said he is passionate about making the Earth a great place.

“I’m a great supporter of the efforts UNT is conducting,” Kanu said. “It’s not a big effort right now but anything matters in the fight to continue to help the place that we call our home, planet Earth, [to stay] a peaceful and beautiful place.”

Kanu said he realizes it may not be the first thing on college student’s minds but said it is something everyone should take interest in for the sake of future generations.

“I feel like more universities or community colleges should follow UNT’s footsteps in order to keep earth such a beautiful and amazing place,” Kanu said.

Briggle wants students to learn about the We Mean Green Fund and help come up with projects because “there’s money waiting for them.”

The We Mean Green Fund is paid for by students every semester using a $5 per student fee called the Environmental Services Fee. The Fund’s interest is to “increase the environmental sustainability of the UNT campus” and educate students on “opportunities related to environmental sustainability,” according to their website.

“It’s a really great way for students, no matter what background, to do hands-on real-world environmental work on campus,” Briggle said.

However the Fund, which also has a committee, is relatively small this year. Briggle said there used to be an entire office several years ago, but it’s been reduced down recently.

“I am disappointed that [UNT] has not constituted a more robust sustainability office,” Briggle said.

Emily Bilcik, project coordinator for the We Mean Green Fund, said she wants students, faculty and staff to know they can benefit from the funds. If a student sees something that could be more sustainable, they can reach out to the Fund or submit a proposal — even if they are not on the committee.

“We appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness about environmental sustainability contributing to making UNT greener,” Bilcik said.

Because the Fund is paid for by students, Bilcik said students should play a part in all of the decision making. Committee members have a stake in everything from finances to projects.

“All of the projects should be student focused,” Bilcik said.

The We Mean Green Fund will launch an application later this month for students interested in joining the committee.

Featured Image: UNT was approved to buy renewable energy credits from Denton Municipal Electric by the We Mean Green Fund. Emilia Capuchino

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Jasmine Robinson

Jasmine Robinson

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