By Rhianna Hruska, 2nd Year MES Student, Secretary/Treasurer of the Clean Energy Committee, and Sustainability Resident Assistant for the Mods.

This academic year, three out of the five student members of the Clean Energy Committee (CEC) are MESers…

And on February 4, 2016, the CEC presented a panel at the Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (OHESC).  The conference was held at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon and engaged roughly 300 attendees. OHESC brought together faculty, staff, and students interested in sustainability at campuses in the Pacific Northwest.

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The author, Rhianna Hruska, ready to present at OHESC.

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Rhianna and the CEC team.

Our panel presentation was on Evergreen’s green fee, the Clean Energy Fee, that was passed by students in 2009. At the time of voting, 28% of the student body voted with 91% of voters being in favor of the green fee. The green fee is used to fully cover the green tags (also known as renewable energy credits) for the college. The rest of the money that does not go toward green tags is managed by the Clean Energy Committee. Many colleges have different ways of managing their green funds, and OHESC was a great opportunity for CEC members to share the unique way that Evergreen manages its green fund. CEC also learned from other colleges and universities and came back from the conference with many great ideas on how to improve our process to further benefit campus.

At the end of the conference, the CEC team went to meet representatives from Arcimoto, an emerging Oregon-based electric car company that currently has models driving around Southern California.  They have many interested potential customers that would like to purchase the final electric vehicle design once they hit the market. CEC got to see Arcimoto’s various prototypes and their shop. It was great for CEC to meet with the Arcimoto team and it was inspiring to see the amazing work that Arcimoto is doing to rethink electric vehicle design.

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CEC at their panel on the Clean Energy Fee.

The national version of OHESC is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Check out 2nd Year MES student, Ryan Hobbs’ account of MES at AASHE.   A CEC student and I have submitted a proposal for the 2016 conference to present a case study on how Evergreen manages its green fee fund, the Clean Energy Fund. We will hear back in Spring about whether the proposal is accepted, but for now, CEC was glad for the opportunity to share the amazing work that we do at OHESC.