The University of the South is one of six colleges in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region that can expect dropping energy bills and increased energy-efficiency education, thanks to a pilot program by the TVA and the Alliance to Save Energy.
The Green Campus Network (GCN) program involves students, faculty, administrators and campus support staff in cutting energy use on college campuses, incorporating energy efficiency into curricula, encouraging students to pursue careers in sustainability after graduation, and generally increasing awareness of energy efficiency. TVA funding will cover program implementation and wages for student interns, who will develop and execute on-campus energy efficiency projects and campaigns, with support and guidance from the Alliance.
A competition in the TVA service area resulted in selection of five universities and one community college for the pilot during the 2011-12 academic year. Campuses chosen are:
- Calhoun Community College, Decatur, Ala.
- University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala.
- University of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.
- University of Mississippi, University, Miss.
- University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
- Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.
GCN builds upon the seven-year success of the Alliance’s Green Campus Program in California, which currently involves 16 universities and colleges and employs more than 75 interns each academic year. They spearhead campus-wide educational campaigns and engage faculty, staff, administrators and fellow students in energy-efficiency projects.
Green Campus projects have ranged from energy audits and assessments, energy competitions in residence halls and laboratories and intern-led, faculty-sponsored academic courses to green career fairs and energy efficiency retrofits in campus buildings. The TVA-supported GCN will use similar initiatives to empower and encourage college students to become tomorrow’s energy efficiency leaders.