In News Release

For immediate release:

Monday, February 25, 2019

Contact:

Bronte Payne, bronte@environmentamerica.org, 617-747-4327

Ross Sherman, rsherman@publicinterestnetwork.org, 303-573-5995

 

Students at UMass Amherst overwhelmingly pass referendum supporting campus-wide transition to renewable energy

AMHERST— With 92 percent student support, students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) passed a referendum calling for the university to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“Students at UMass Amherst and across the country strongly support powering their campuses with 100 percent renewable energy sources, and want to see their college or university lead the way” said Bronte Payne, Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campuses Campaign Director. “We look forward to continuing our work with students, faculty and administrators to end fossil fuel use on campuses and encourage campuses to play a key role in shifting the country to clean energy.”

MASSPIRG’s 100% Renewable Energy Campaign launched in the spring of 2017, and students have worked to build and demonstrate broad public support for a complete transition to clean energy. Since the launch, MASSPIRG has educated over 5,000 students each semester about the campaign, collected over 2,000 petition signatures, and garnered over 100 faculty endorsements. MASSPIRG student leaders worked with the UMass Amherst Student Government Association to successfully pass a resolution in support of a commitment to a transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

“When we launched this campaign, we wondered if students would think a 100 percent clean energy goal was too big of a dream,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, junior at UMass Amherst and the MASSPIRG 100% Renewable Energy Campaign Coordinator. “With 92 percent voting in support of UMass Amherst shifting to 100 percent renewable energy, we aren’t wondering anymore, and we are excited to work with the campus administration to set the university on a path to a fossil-free future.”

The UMass Amherst vote is the latest in what has been a year of significant progress for the 100% Renewable Campuses Campaign. Last fall, the University of California system announced that it would generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. Starting June of this year, all 10 of UC campuses will also require all new buildings to run on non-fossil fuel power. In all, students are leading more than 50 campaigns in 15 states this year with the support of Environment America and the Student PIRGs.

Elsewhere, Boston University, which has the largest student body of any university in Massachusetts, announced plans to purchase wind energy to meet 100 percent of the campus’ electricity consumption. Earlier this month, Brown University announced plans to completely transition to renewable energy.

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