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SLU Offsets All Electrical Emissions with Renewable Energy

08/30/2019Media Inquiries

Nancy Solomon
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This summer, Saint Louis University committed to purchasing 125 million kilowatts of renewable energy certificates, which effectively offsets the entire carbon footprint of SLU’s electricity use.

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Student leaders of SLU’s sustainability initiative include, from left, Douglas Fritz, Laura Beilsmith, Elizabeth Pottrf, Robert Lasky and Brenda Kirlin. Photo by Jeff Ackels

SLU joins a growing number of institutions making significant progress toward carbon neutrality and is among Missouri’s early pioneers in demonstrating this level of commitment.

The SGA Sustainability Committee, which was led by recent graduate Douglas Fritz and rising senior Robert Lasky, directed a joint effort with the Green Billikens Student Group and Facilities Services to replace all electricity used on campus with renewable energy.

In agreeing to purchase more renewable energy certificates, SLU expands on an earlier student-led initiative that replaced all electricity used in residence halls with renewable energy produced through Midwest wind farms. In that initiative SLU, garnered national attention from the EPA and was awarded EPA Green Power Partnership status.

“This expansion of our previous initiative is another step in mitigating our impact on the climate. We hope to inspire other institutions to follow our lead and join us in reducing and offsetting our campus’ carbon emissions. In accordance with our Jesuit mission, this step is the bare minimum to ensure SLU’s impact today is beneficial to our world and our community in the future,” Fritz said.

Elizabeth Potterf, a junior who will be chair of the SGA Sustainability Committee in ’20-21, also is proud of SLU’s environmental stewardship.

“I think Saint Louis University is living up to the university's mission by offsetting all of our electricity usage. Our university encourages students to be for and with others, and I believe that being environmentally conscious should be a large part of that mission,”Potterf said.

“By relying more on renewable energy and reducing our carbon emissions, we are living up to our moral obligation to protect and preserve the world around us.”

SLU students voted to tax themselves $20 a semester to reduce their carbon footprint to help defray the cost of purchasing renewable energy certificates. This commitment to green power aims to help reduce the negative health impact of air pollution, acid rain and climate change.

Students who were part of SLU’s sustainability initiative are Laura Beilsmith ’20, Green Billikens President; Douglas Fritz ’19, founder of Green Billikens and SGA Sustainability Committee; Robert Lasky ’20, SGA Sustainability Committee ’19-20 chair; Elizabeth Potterf ’21, SGA Sustainability Committee ’20-21 chair; and Brenda Kirlin ’20, SGA Sustainability Committee ’20-21 chair.