University of Florida Student Government passes 5th resolution calling on administration to commit to 100 percent renewable energy
GAINESVILLE — Senators from the University of Florida’s student government association unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday evening calling for the university to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2040.
This winter, Environment Florida Research and Policy Center joined the Florida PIRG Campus Action in advocating for this action through a launch of its 100% Renewable Campus campaign at UF. The resolution urges President Kent Fuchs to make a commitment to 100 percent renewable energy no later than 2040.
“With this resolution, the student body sent a clear message that we want our university to embrace a greener, more sustainable future,” said Evan Smith, a first-year political science major, and the campus’ 100% Campaign coordinator. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in UF and Florida history, one that puts our planet and people first.”
The campaign kicked off with students holding a kickoff meeting in February with more than 90 students and staff in attendance. These advocates then collected more than 900 petitions, and have had more than 40 faculty, staff, and student groups engaging in the campaign. This included sharing information and publicly endorsing the campaign.
“After working on our 100% campaign this semester and seeing the broad support our campaign has gotten from over 900 students, it is very exciting to see our hard work endorsed by our student government, which clearly heard the will of its constituency,” said 100% Petitions Coordinator Abby Forsyth, who is a junior studying political science. “It’s clear that the University of Florida community is passionate about our campus and our environment. By passing our resolution unanimously, our student government has sent a clear-throated message to the administration that this must be a priority.”
This resolution comes less than a month after students at the University of West Florida, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida all passed similar resolutions. This makes the UF student government the fifth school to formally call for a campus commitment to 100 percent renewable energy. These campuses followed Florida State University, which, in spring 2020, was the first Florida university to successfully campaign to get the student government to pass a similar resolution.
“It was amazing to work with such a passionate and driven-oriented group and I’m extremely happy that we got full senate support to pass this resolution,” said Alejandro Chaparro, a student government senator at UF. “It’s just the beginning, but it was an honor to contribute to such an important cause.”
Now that the SGA resolution has passed, it will be sent to President Fuchs’s desk. Students are planning to continue working with faculty, staff and administrators to officially make UF the first university in the state to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.
“These on-campus actions continue to prove that students are prioritizing climate change as a major issue on college campuses. Students across the state know they can make a difference,” said Ryann Lynn, climate and clean energy advocate with Environment Florida. “Simply put, they want to see more renewable energy in Florida. As the Sunshine State only gets 2 percent of its energy from the sun, there is a lot of room for growth.”
Environment Florida Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting Florida’s air, water, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help people make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.
PIRG Campus Action is a national training and advocacy program started by the Student PIRGs and is based on a model that has been helping students make positive change for almost 50 years. PIRG Campus Action student clubs work with professional staff at colleges and universities to make sure our peers have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all of us. Our network on over 100 campuses provides the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more.