The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Climate Action Plan to educate students

By Rita Totten

Students, faculty and staff interested in contributing to the U’s Climate Action Plan are being encouraged to join task teams created by the Office of Sustainability.

Myron Willson, director of the office, set up posters in the Heritage Center lobby on Tuesday to answer questions and inform students about the U’s climate impact.

In April 2008, U President Michael Young signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which pledged the U’s commitment to becoming climate-neutral. The ACUPCC requires that within two years of signing the commitment, a plan must be developed outlining the efforts the U will take in moving toward climate neutrality. The plan is due in May 2010 and will be an action cycle, Willson said, which means the Office of Sustainability will plan, evaluate and implement it, then do it all over again.

“The only way this will be successful is if we get participation from across the campus,” Willson said.

The Office of Sustainability will form task teams, made up of students and faculty, who will look at where the climate impacts are the greatest and brainstorm ways to reduce the U’s carbon footprint.

The office will take ideas from the public on campus and put them through a filter, Willson said, and then assign the ideas to task teams who will test the concepts and analyze the cost of implementing them.

Ben Helstad, a sophomore in computer science, said he was interested in the climate action plan because the computer science field uses a considerable amount of energy.
“Hundreds of servers running all day everyday adds up to a lot of energy,” Helstad said. He said he was interested in seeing what he could do to reduce the cost of running a gaming office.

“The more I can learn, the more I can help my industry grow,” Helstad said.
Different factors make it hard to predict when the U will reach climate neutrality, Willson said, such as the size of the campus, the contributions of the U’s hospitals and the location of the campus.

“All the actions for neutrality have to be our actions,” Willson said. Because the U gets its power directly from Rocky Mountain Power, unless the company adopts its own new policies, the U can’t plan on the changes coming from the power company, he said.
Willson said the U has been working on energy conservation for 10 to 15 years by reducing lighting and water usage.

“At least a half of what we are doing to save on our footprints will also save money,” Willson said.

Justin Reuter, a graduate student in education and leadership and an intern at the Office of Sustainability, is organizing a Campus Sustainability Day, which will be held in the Union lobby at 11 a.m. today. Departments on campus will be showcasing how they are committed to reducing their carbon footprints and what they have done so far.

It’s hard to measure what each department has done to reduce its carbon output because there is no set standard, he said.

“Every department needs to do their part,” Reuter said.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *