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IU Trustees approve energy master plan, students react

posted Dec 7, 2012, 1:34 PM by Coalfree IU

For Immediate Release:  December 7, 2012


Contact:  Lauren Kastner, Coal Free IU, (812) 344-8823

Alexis Boxer, Sierra Club, (203) 885-3629 (cell)

IU Trustees approve energy master plan, students react

Students win major victory with university commitment to phase out coal

BLOOMINGTON, IN – Indiana University-Bloomington will be phasing out the use of coal on campus thanks to the efforts of the students of Coal Free IU and the Campuses Beyond Coal campaign. The Indiana University Board of Trustees met in Kokomo today to approve the final draft of the Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP). The Trustees voted to approve the IEMP that will come into force immediately as part of the IU Campus Master Plan. Several amendments to the IEMP were made after students of Coal Free IU made a formal request for three provisions: A commitment to stop burning coal, a plan for clean energy, and accountability within the plan. 

This means that the university has made a commitment to phase out coal, allow the existing coal boilers at the Central Heating Plant to expire within the next few years, implement campus-wide efficiency upgrades, review clean energy options annually, and to set a timeline to meet these goals.

This decision came after students from Coal Free IU coordinated a national call-in day to the offices of the Trustees and the President, having allies from across the country ask IU to commit to a clean energy future. It was reported that IU alumni as far away as Kenya and Scotland called to advocate for clean energy. Despite the meeting being held during IU’s final exam week, Coal Free IU members attended the meeting to hand-deliver letters to the board calling on them for action.

“We have driven hundreds of calls from students, faculty, alumni, community members and allies to the administration over the last two days to show that all eyes are on IU as it made this decision,” Coal Free IU President Michael Caldie said. “After four years of students demanding that IU stop burning coal and invest in a clean energy future, administrators finally listened.”

When the IEMP came up for discussion, the Trustees and Vice President of Capital Projects and Facilities Tom Morrison recognized the critical role that students from Coal Free IU played in this decision.

Trustee Patrick Shoulders defended Coal Free IU and thanked them for challenging IU on this issue. Shoulders also acknowledged that the Board should weigh other things besides cost such as the environment and public health when talking about coal and energy issues.

“For us it was the war in Vietnam,” Shoulders said. “For this generation it is a fight for their future and their children's future; a fight for clean air and clean water. What they are asking for is not unreasonable. In fact, we are doing it.”

VP Tom Morrison added that all input from the public regarding the IEMP was unanimously in support of clean energy at IU.

“I've been meeting with CFIU for as long as I've had this job and they have been working with us all this time to see this through,” Morrison said.

Since 2009, twenty colleges and universities across the country have committed to stop burning coal as a result of the Sierra Student Coalition and Sierra Club’s Campuses Beyond Coal campaign. IU is one of the last colleges to operate a campus coal plant.

Graduating Senior and Coal Free IU Vice President Lauren Kastner added that although this is a clear victory, the work is never done. Students will be staying active to make sure that the university is held accountable to their commitment and to push for IU to make even more progress in clean energy initiatives and carbon neutrality.

"It was important to me to make my university reflect the values of my generation and our changing society. This decision from the Trustees is something I can brag about as a soon to be IU alumna,” Kastner said. "IU can finally be taken seriously as a clean energy leader and a socially and environmentally responsible institution.”