TALLAHASSEE — By an overwhelming margin, senators from Florida State University’s student government association have passed a resolution calling for the university to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Environment Florida Research and Policy Center launched the 100% Renewable Campus campaign at FSU in the fall of 2018. Since then, students have worked to build and demonstrate broad public support for a complete transition to clean energy. Environment Florida interns collected more than 3,600 petition signatures and garnered more than 100 faculty endorsements urging President John Thrasher to put Florida State University on a path to powering all operations with clean, renewable energy by no later than 2050, and for all electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
“Students across the country are vocalizing support for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Thirty-six colleges have already committed to that evolution, but FSU could be the first university in Florida,” said Ryann Lynn, Environment Florida’s Clean Energy Advocate.
Last April, the city of Tallahassee pledged to transition to 100 percent renewable energy no later than 2050. FSU played a major role in Tallahassee making that commitment, but students clamored for additional action by the university.
“As a top 20 public university with its own community of more than 40,000 students, we should blaze our own trail to help improve our climate,” said Willow Michie, senior at FSU and the campaign coordinator. “We are excited to work with the campus administration to set the university on a path to a fossil-free future.”
Students also held events to coincide with Environment America’s National Week of Action for 100% Renewable Campuses last October. The FSU chapter of Environment Florida was able to educate its peers by hosting a table at several homecoming events, organizing a panel discussion on sustainability and promoting a social media day of action with the #SolarNoles.
Now that the SGA resolution has passed, it will be sent to President Thrasher’s desk. Students are planning to continue working with faculty, staff and administrators to officially make FSU the first university in the state to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.
This vote coincided with the second day of the Florida legislative session. Could FSU’s student senate set an example for state legislators?
“Students are sending a message to our current representatives that tomorrow’s leaders share a vision for Florida’s future -- and that future is renewable,” said Lynn.
Environment Florida Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting Florida’s air, water, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help people make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.