From: Timothy Gardner, Reuters
Published September 7, 2006 12:00 AM

U.S. Colleges to Buy Green Power in MTV Competition

NEW YORK — An environmental group is teaming with MTV to encourage U.S. university students to demand their schools get more energy from renewable energy sources.

"We believe students are especially well-positioned to be advocating for this because they more than anyone know what's at stake," said Billy Parish, a coordinator for Washington D.C.-based Energy Action Coalition, in a telephone interview. His group is launching the competition with MTV, a cable network owned by Viacom Inc.

Students at several colleges have already pushed through fees of about $30 per student that allow schools to buy power from clean energy sources such as solar and wind farms.

Parish said students are energized to fight global warming because they're worried about the threats of heat waves and flooding from melting glaciers on the habitats of people and endangered species.

But the economic opportunities of clean technology and sustainable energy also make college students active in pushing for alternative power, he said.

Hip-hop artist Jay-Z was set to launch the competition, called Break the Addiction Challenge, on MTV show "Total Requests Live" on Wednesday. Schools will compete for prizes including "green"-friendly renovations of their student lounges.

"Whether it is concerns about Hurricane Katrina, high gas prices, war or national security, young people are beginning to connect the dots between their daily behavior and the health of our environment," said Christina Norman, president of MTV, in a statement.

Unlike the European Union, the United States does not have a national plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. "The U.S. has been a leader in so many things and is dropping the ball at this point," said Parish.

In the absence of a federal program, states like California and seven in the Northeast are planning to create their own regional markets for greenhouse gases.

Below is a list of colleges that buy 100 percent of their power from clean energy sources, according to Energy Action Coalition:

Bowdoin College, Maine

Colby College, Maine

College of the Atlantic, Maine

Concordia University, Texas

Duke's Fuqua School of Business, North Carolina

Evergreen State College, Washington

Unity College, Maine

University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma

UC Santa Cruz, California

Western Washington University, Washington

Source: Reuters

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