Men holding solar panels

The council for Barton-Lyon-Freeman residence halls wrote a letter to Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen with the hope that the entire campus would run on solar panels eventually.

The council for Barton-Lyon-Freeman (BLF) residence halls at Iowa State University have taken action towards helping climate change by writing a letter to Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen.

Members of the Barton, Lyon and Freeman Hall Council include: Makenna Smith, junior in agronomy; Dani Frey, freshman in English; Dot Bappe, junior in psychology; Hector Arbuckle, senior in biology; Joy Westercamp, sophomore in biology; Nathan Erickson, senior in meteorology; and Zak Keel, freshman in civil engineering.

The council members made the decision to write a letter to Wintersteen containing a series of requests to the administration requesting that Iowa State move towards becoming a more green campus, with the intent being that Iowa State can run 100 percent off of renewable energy by 2030. 

As humans on this planet, we have a responsibility to protect the natural world and ecosystems around us from harmful products of human activities,” according to the document.

The council said it hopes to achieve this goal without a raise in tuition for the students, though it said it understands that that may be impossible.

Recently, Iowa State’s tuition cost has been on the rise, and the council said that it would be beneficial to raise tuition for a good cause — such as climate change. 

Additionally, it also discussed that most students receive financial aid and do not pay full tuition, so an increase by $1,000 may not be an issue. 

During a meeting, the council discussed how after Iowa State puts money into going green — the hope would be the entire campus would run on solar panels — and once construction was finished, tuition for students would decrease from what it currently is today. 

“An increase in cost won't kill us, especially if it’s for something we are using on an everyday basis,” Smith said.

Along with Iowa State running on green energy, the council also discussed asking Iowa State to decrease investments in companies like Exxon Mobil in an attempt to phase these companies out. The council said it hopes that Iowa State would then invest in more environmentally friendly companies.

Additional goals that are still of major importance include divestment from fossil fuel companies that are currently supported by the university and the catalysis of increased research on climate change, sustainability and ‘green’ solutions by various departments of the university,” according to the document.

The group said it plans for this letter to be the first of several to Wintersteen. It hopes for the first one to create open communication between it and the faculty in hopes that they can work together to create positive change. 

If the movement is successful, the council said that Iowa State would be a global leader in climate change, and the reputation of the school would increase substantially.

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