The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) recently passed a resolution committing the university to 100% renewable energy by 2035, in accordance with Boise’s Energy Future initiative.
“It’s really just asking for the university to publicly support Boise’s Energy Future and implement our own plans to reach that goal as well,” said Morgan Brummund, a senior environmental studies major and ASBSU government relations officer.
This resolution is not necessarily proposing any new projects. Rather, Brummund explained it is an acknowledgment of Boise State’s strong advocacy for Boise’s Energy Future initiative that is already being actualized by Idaho Power Company and the City of Boise.
It is important to note that this initiative is focused only on energy in terms of the electricity used to power buildings, according to Boise’s Energy Future project manager Steve Hubble.
“The university is a significant user of energy, given the nature and the size of the facilities on campus,” Hubble said. “The university’s participation, whether in our initiative or whether setting other clean energy goals for campus, would ultimately be very supportive of the community-wide goals that we’ve established.”
By default, Boise State will have clean energy by 2035 in compliance with the city’s initiative, considering the university resides within city limits. However, the ASBSU resolution aims to help build student and community support for Boise’s Energy Future.
“This is a really good opportunity for Boise State to prioritize the future of [our]campus and students, as well as really leading and being an example to other universities,” said Emily Her, the community development coordinator of Campus Sustainability and member of the ASBSU Sustainability Committee.
There are currently 40 college and university campuses across the United States that operate on 100% renewable energy. Boise State has the potential to be a leader to the rest of the nation, especially considering the university’s ability to utilize geothermal energy.
In addition to demonstrating sustainable leadership, this resolution could also help reduce some of the financial costs associated with powering the campus and make Boise State a noteworthy example to other institutions, especially within Idaho.
“Renewable energy is the future. The costs are getting lower and lower each year,” Brummund said. “We’re going to have to transition eventually. Why not do that transition earlier so that we have a longer economic payoff and [more]economic benefits at the end of the day?”
ASBSU members are optimistic that this resolution will increase the sustainability efforts made by the university. However, sustainability agreements like this have passed through ASBSU in the past and eventually became dormant.
“We already have a carbon neutrality agreement that [ASBSU] signed back [around]2007, but ever since then our carbon emissions have actually been increasing,” Her said. “It’s just actually following through now. That’s the biggest thing we would hope to take away from this.”
Regardless of the past, ASBSU council members and the sustainability committee are looking to the future and hope this resolution will not only help the university but, inevitably, aid in addressing the global climate crisis.
“It’s really important that we are doing our part to support our planet and reduce emissions,” Brummund said.