Posts Tagged ‘Generation E’

By Juliana Goodlaw-Morris, Campus Field Manager for Campus Ecology, National Wildlife Federation and Julian Keniry, Senior Director of Campus and Community Leadership, National Wildlife Federation
(This article appears in the March, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Students are the epicenter of any college or university campus.  They are the heart and soul and the reason why colleges and universities exist, and it would be a disservice to any campus if students were not engaged throughout all aspects of campus sustainability.  A myriad of lessons have been learned from engaging an estimated 460,000 student leaders hailing from 2,000 campuses over Campus Ecology’s 23 years and counting of programming at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  During this time, the program has also awarded approximately 180 Campus Ecology Fellowships to current undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 500 internships to recent graduates.   Throughout the evolution of campus sustainability, there have been changes in approach and goals for greening one’s campus; however the one constant has always been student leadership.

Students understand the challenge the United States and the rest of the world face to transition quickly from a fossil fuel-based society to one built on safe, clean renewable energy—as advocated by a majority of the world’s scientists— this is the crucible of our time.  Campus Ecology’s recent publication, “Generation E: Students Leading for a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future” explores how young people in college today are responding to this challenge, stepping up to make a difference in a wide range of creative and powerful ways. “E” stands for many things, including Ecology, Economy, Energy and Equity— which are among the interconnected concerns and values of sustainability that define and unite the current generation like no other issue of our time.

Students across the country have been lobbying their college or university president to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) since its inception five years ago.  Schools like University of Oklahoma and Birmingham Southern College attribute students to the signing of the ACUPCC.  In addition, once the school has become a signatory, in many cases students are conducting the greenhouse gas inventories and helping with the climate action plans.  In 2009, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) research conducted by John Hehir, showed that approximately 19 percent of all greenhouse gas inventories to-date were compiled by student researchers and classes.


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