Students concerned about expiring grants

During Gov. Pat Quinn’s visit to the University on Monday, student advocates for the creation of a wind turbine on campus demonstrated their concerns.

Students for Environmental Concerns and the Student Sustainability Committee posed questions to Gov. Quinn about his support for the construction of a wind turbine that would make the campus more energy efficient.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation gave $2 million to the University to construct a wind turbine in 2003. In 2005, students paired with administrators and state officials to discuss getting clean energy on campus.

“We received this grant money that’s going to expire in roughly three months time and so we want to push the University on this issue now,” said Anthony Larson, president of Students for Environmental Concerns.

Larson and other students said they are concerned that the University will not move forward with the project before the grant expires June, 30.

Larson said the original proposal included three turbines, but because of issues with the budget, the University reduced the number to only one turbine.The Student Sustainability Committee has contributed $0.5 million for the wind turbine project, said Suhail Barot, the Student Sustainability Committee’s chair.

“We have an incredibly high bill,” he said. “We pay $70 million a year for energy and it’s time for the University to start using renewable energy.”

Barot said if the money saved for this project goes unused, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation will take it back and use it for other projects at different universities.