U of L promotes better energy use for students

By on November 3, 2008

By U Of L Promotes Better Energy Use For Students

A bike instead of a car. A dark office instead of a needlessly lit one. An idle computer with the monitor turned off instead of one that stays on sucking energy needlessly.
The University of Louisville spends up to one million dollars a month on energy, according to the head of the Sustainability Council Barbara Burns.
A new energy pledge from the university aimed  toward encouraging energy conservation among students and faculty could make some of these choices common practice at U of L.
Burns, who is also the chair of the Psychology and Brain Science department, pointed out that a reduction in energy use is “also about helping the environment and improving public health.”
The pledge, which is printed on 30 percent post-consumer waste paper, asks students to commit to a number of different conservation methods, like attempting to ride a bike instead of riding in a car to school or taking a TARC bus at least one day a week.
“If they were really serious about this, why didn’t they go paperless and put it online?” freshman biology major Graham Barnes asked in criticism of the pledge.  
Sophomore computer information systems student, Kyle Amyx, was more supportive of the measure.
“I already do some of these things” Amyx said. “For other students it might be hard to remember to do it, and change their habits.” 
Burns has higher hopes for the pledge, noting that it is the first stage in a process geared toward the development of more sustainable energy practices at the University. 
According to Burns, the pledge is modeled after health and psychology approaches that aim to achieve effective behavior modification. 
The first stage of this process is about establishing the issue and getting people to understand why they should take it seriously. 
“What we are trying to do is introduce these ideas to people,” Burns said. “We have to provide an opportunity to do something right now if people want to do it.”
History professor John Cumbler agrees that the University should attempt to instill environmentally sound values in the students as part of their education. 
“It’s not bad if the intention is to make student’s aware of the things they can do,” Cumbler said. “If the intention is to look like we’re doing something when we’re not doing very much, then it’s negative.”

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