Quinn visit encourages green goals

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, right, dressed in Illinois apparel, watches the first half of the Illinois Penn State game at Assembly Hall on Wednesday. Quinn attended the game after signing the Illinois Sustainable University Compact focusing on environmental Erica Magda

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, right, dressed in Illinois apparel, watches the first half of the Illinois Penn State game at Assembly Hall on Wednesday. Quinn attended the game after signing the Illinois Sustainable University Compact focusing on environmental Erica Magda

By Masha Stul

Gov. Pat Quinn made his first visit to the University as governor Wednesday afternoon to support sustainability on campus. Quinn was joined by Chancellor Richard Herman, University of Illinois President B. Joseph White and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees Niranjan Shah in signing the Illinois Sustainable University Compact.Gov. Pat Quinn made his first visit to the University as governor Wednesday afternoon to support sustainability on campus.

Quinn was joined by Chancellor Richard Herman, University of Illinois President B. Joseph White and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees Niranjan Shah in signing the Illinois Sustainable University Compact.

“When history is written a hundred years from now in 2109, they’re going to ask whether those people back in 2009 met the challenge of sustainability,” Quinn said.

The Compact commits the University to eight sustainability goals to be reached by Dec. 31, 2010. Financing the implementation of these goals will mostly come from reallocating funds within the Facilities and Services budget, said Richard Warner, director of the Office of Sustainability. The student sustainability fee will also be used to fund these goals.

“That agreement is premised on the students,” Quinn said, referring to the students’ vote to create a sustainability fee. “This is really exemplary, and I think we should tell the whole world about what Illinois students are doing.”

Quinn said investing in sustainability will create green jobs which will not be outsourced, and the stimulus bill President Barack Obama signed Tuesday reflects this concept.

“(The president) understands the importance of investing in the green economy and in sustainability, and that’s part of the economic stimulus,” he said. “Illinois will get its fair share of these federal dollars.”

Quinn said he does not expect any further cuts in state funding for the University in 2009. In the state budget to be finalized in March, he said education will be among his top priorities.

Registered Student Organization, Students for Environmental Concerns, took advantage of Quinn’s visit as an opportunity to push for the revitalization of the wind turbine project.

“We collected over 300 letters pushing our new governor to pressure Chancellor Herman to move forward the wind turbine project,” said Anthony Larson, junior in ACES and vice president of Students for Environmental Concerns.

After Larson handed these letters to the governor, Chancellor Herman reached out to Larson and firmly shook his hand.

“I would like to see what (Quinn) actually does push for,” said Dan Weber, sophomore in LAS and student senator running for Trustee on the sustainability platform.

“What I’m most interested to see is what happens to University funding.”

Points of the Illinois Sustainable University Compact

-Increase energy efficiency on campus

-Earn (LEED) green certificate for all new buildings

-Promote more sustainable transportation options

-Complete at least one stormwater management project

-Purchase non-toxic cleaning products whenever practical

-Compost at least 5,000 cubic yards of the organic waste produced on campus

-Reduce pesticide use

Source: Illinois Sustainable University Compact