Down in Texas, a region that is notorious for its oil and gas men, the idea of switching to 100% renewable energy isn’t exactly an idea that is catching on real quickly for individuals or organizations with the power to make it happen; even at a university that prides itself on being a “Green Light to Success”.
The University of North Texas (located in Denton, Texas) likes to pride itself on just how green it is, what they truly are is guilty of greenwashing. This university still uses 47 percent coal energy and 12 percent natural gas energy. This university also has a fracking site right on campus that borders a dorm! Yet they still plaster this image of being such a green school all over the place.
Denton off Fossil Fuels is an organization comprised mainly of students and alumni in the area that is dedicated to promoting clean energy and to encourage the University and the entire city to move off of dirty fossil fuel energy. On Tuesday, October 9th, the president of the University of North Texas (President Rawlins) had an informal discussion session that students were encouraged to come and talk about their concerns pertaining to the university. Denton off Fossil Fuels saw this as an excellent time to bring our concerns about our “green” university still using fossil fuel energy, they showed up wearing group t-shirts and face masks to comment on the “F” air quaility Denton, Texas has been granted.
When confronted with the question of why hasn’t UNT moved off of fossil fuels and on to clean renewable energy, the president had little to say other then “legal matters are currently involved with issue” which meant he is not going to talk about it to DOFF (Denton off Fossil Fuels). Then when asked a question pertaining to the frack site on campus and how plans were being made to refrack the site he was clueless, he had no idea their was even a site on campus. Not exactly providing faith that he truly knows what is going on on his own campus. The last heavy hitter question that was asked was how he felt about adopting this slogan off “Green Light to Success” when the University still uses almost 60% fossil fuel energy. Again he had little to say nor did his advisors that answered a lot of questions that were asked.
After the discussion session I spoke to President Rawlins directly about his concerns with the future of the University and its involvement with fossil fuel energy. The President told me that the school needs to embrace its “green” slogan it so quickly thrown around. The result of this conversation lead to DOFF to have the chance to make a proposal to the President and the Board of Regents of the school of how exactly we can go about switching to clean renewable energy and a business plan that would go along with it. We have our work cut out for us since the Board of Regents is made up almost entirely of oil and gas executives. Despite a community with deep roots in the oil and gas industries, individuals can be educated and things can change towards a green future with enough pressure and support. Onward!