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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Renewable Energy Considered At Power Shift Conference

On October 24th, students from across Florida gathered at the University of Central Florida to discuss strategies for achieving positive change toward a more sustainable energy future. The event, Florida Power Shift, lasted for two days and consisted of a series of lectures, workshops, and breakout groups designed to allow students to brainstorm and network among themselves.

Students also heard from representatives of various groups who work in renewable energy and sustainability, such as the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, Campus Progress, and the Alliance for Climate Protection. Issues discussed ranged from local to global concerns about sustainable energy. Alex Mourant, a former intern and Vice President of Internal Affairs of Gators for a Sustainable Campus, attended the conference as part of a group representing UF.

"Power Shift gave us the chance to get together and set up a game plan for the Renewable Energy fee," said Mourant. The UF Renewable Energy ballot referendum was passed in 2006, with 78% voting in favor of the $.50/credit hour fee. It is now a piece of state legislation that when approved will support renewable energy sources for the UF campus. Similar efforts are underway at other Florida institutions.

"We're going to work with legislators through petitions, letter writing and phone banking to try and promote more sustainable energy policy,” said Mourant.

The student groups at PowerShift resolved to keep in touch with one another to maintain focus and stay on track with their efforts. They plan to periodically conduct conference calls to stay up-to-date on efforts throughout Florida.