A coalition of student environmental groups announced Wednesday plans to encourage 500 colleges and universities in North America to take steps to reduce global warming.
The Campus Climate Challenge will conduct research, meet with administrators, organize rallies, and publicize the steps colleges and universities take. The group's Web site praises the actions of many institutions, citing recent decisions at Western Washington University to use renewable electricity and throughout the University of California system to increase the use of renewable power.
While the students plan to engage in serious discussions with campus officials, they also plan less formal activities designed to show their fellow students that they don't need to use traditional forms of energy. For instance, a celebration of the organization's debut at the University of Wisconsin at Madison featured bratwurst sandwiches cooked on a solar-powered grill.
Administrators on many campuses -- while not always doing exactly what the environmental groups are seeking -- are in fact changing many energy-related policies. The Society for College and University Planning has released a white paper that summarizes many of those efforts and explains the rationale (both ethical and financial) for them.