Two years of petitions, meetings, letters and lobbying from our Campaigns Forum have finally paid off: the University of Reading is now using 100 percent green electricity. We - a core group of about 15 students - identified the people in the university who had the power to make the switch, and over a long period we lobbied them in various ways.

We began with a petition, collecting more than 1,000 signatures in stalls, in halls and by staging events around the campus.   Over the next six months, we met the department's staff regularly to convince them of our case.

After extensive consultation, Reading adopted a new energy policy. This ensured that green electricity, as long as it was financially viable, would be given first preference whenever the university's energy contract came up for renewal.

Then, the university staff did their research and moved their energy contracts to 100 percent renewable sources with Scottish and Southern Energy, without any increase in cost. And thanks to our energy policy, when they renew the contract in two years' time, they will most likely stay green.

Our victory is a clear example of how students working together can make significant changes for the better. However, not content with this, we are now pressing the university on recycling and energy efficiency. We also want it to employ full-time environmental management personnel to make the whole university more environmentally friendly.

In the future, we hope the rest of the higher education sector will follow our lead. All universities should obtain quotations for the supply of green electricity and make a public commitment to switch to a green supply as soon as possible.

There is no reason to wait for a top-down solution from the Government. The time to act is now, and with green electricity becoming more and more widely available, institutions, businesses and individuals alike can easily make the switch today.


Photo:  Edward (far right), and fellow students, Ali and Tom, meet with the Vice Chancellor and the Director of Facilities Management to discuss the Campaigns Forum Green Electricity campaign.

The latest updates

 

Here's us: Mark Floegel on the left and Mike

Image | September 21, 2005 at 14:51

Here's us: Mark Floegel on the left and Mike Johnson on the right. We're using GPS to navigate in a region that's virtually unrecognizable, where street signs rarely exist.

Oil spill clean

Image | September 21, 2005 at 14:31

Oil spill clean-ups that we've seen have been crude, with what amounts to towels soaking up the oil and being carried away by boat. Workers are not adequately protected.

As you can see

Image | September 21, 2005 at 14:22

As you can see, the water is literally bubbling with oil.

Oil refineries like this one continue to

Image | September 21, 2005 at 14:03

Oil refineries like this one continue to sit underwater, and the extent of their damage is only slowly coming to light.

Katrina Disaster

Image gallery | September 20, 2005

Then again

Image | September 20, 2005 at 18:00

Then again, no one we've seen has been adequately protected from the toxins they're surrounded by.

We've seen residents

Image | September 20, 2005 at 18:00

We've seen residents, with little protection, who are constantly being exposed to toxins. No one we've spoken with has received safety instructions or heard word from their friendly neighborhood oil companies.

Hurricane winds of up to 150 miles per hour

Image | September 20, 2005 at 18:00

Hurricane winds of up to 150 miles per hour ripped through the region, and ripped through this refinery as well.

We've been in Louisiana for five days

Image | September 20, 2005 at 18:00

We've been in Louisiana for five days, and we've witnessed several oil spills first-hand. According to the Coast Guard, a total of 44 spills have been documented so far, with more than 7 million gallons of oil pouring into residential areas...

Satellite imagery of oil spill in the Gulf

Image | September 13, 2005 at 18:00

Satellite imagery of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The yellow boxes indicate oil rigs/platforms. The dark streaks indicate oil slicks.

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