Students involved with the advocacy groups Coal Free IU and the Campuses Beyond Coal campaign have pushed the Indiana University Board of Trustees to phase out the use of coal on the Bloomington campus. The Integrated Energy Master Plan was approved this morning and comes into effect immediately as part of the IU Campus Master Plan. This final draft included requests from the students in Coal Free IU for a commitment to stop burning coal, a clean energy plan, and accountability within the plan.
As the university allows the existing coal boilers at the central heating plant to expire within the next few years the campus will see efficiency upgrades, clean energy options will be considered annually, and a timeframe will be set to meet the goals of IU's commitment to getting rid of coal.
The decision would not have occurred without the efforts of Coal Free IU to organize call-ins from residents, students, and alumni to the offices of the Trustees and the university's President. In the midst of a stressful exam week the students delivered messages by hand to the board during their meeting to call on them for a clean energy future.
"After four years of students demanding that IU stop burning coal, administrators finally listened," Michael Caldie, Coal Free IU President, said.
Members of administration and Trustees themselves acknowledged the integral work of Coal Free IU in influencing a decision that impacts the future of the university. Trustee Patrick Shoulders thanked the group for challenging the board on the important issue.
Though the approval of the university's Board of Trustees is an important step forward, students must remain vigilant to ensure that the administration is held accountable to upholding their commitment.
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