This past Tuesday, the Georgetown City council met to confirm a decision that would allow Southwestern to purchase all of its electricity from renewable resources, specifically wind power, which is produced in West Texas by American Electric Powers (AEP). The meeting was attended by many of the members of SEAK, who cheered when the final announcement was made.
The meeting started with the council going into closed session before making the announcement, which led to a few uncertain moments in the main hall. After the official announcement, President Schrum addressed the council, thanking them and the students of SEAK, who had worked to get this measure passed. Mayor George Carver and Schrum shook hands and signed the bill together while cameras clicked, pointed at the students as well as the two leaders. Schrum, in his statement, said that while some university presidents have to worry about the kinds of leaders they produce, he did not, if this was what his students were doing already.
Georgetown will purchase the energy from AEP, which generates energy at two main wind farms, the Southwest Mesa and South Trent Wind Farms in West Texas, near Abilene. Southwestern uses as much electricity as about 450 homes, and, according to Schrum, this will go a long way in Southwestern’s goal to be carbon neutral in the future. Southwestern will be the first university wholly powered by renewable energy in Texas, and one of only 16 in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Senior Lorena Saenz said, “It’s an incredible relationship that Southwestern administration has with the student body. Some SEAK students got the idea a couple years ago that Southwestern can and should be powered by clean energy, and they took the initiative to talk to the right people. That relationship and ongoing dialogue made it happen!”
Mindful of the future, Schrum said that when prospective students come to visit, sustainability will be a factor. “If we can’t give them a good answer, they’ll get on their car, bike or hybrid, and leave.” A step has been taken to prevent that from happening.