Alternative and renewable energy research is a must

At this large and respected research university, we expect our professors not only to teach us specific curricula but also to continue to develop their knowledge outside the classroom, which is often done through research. During this recession, there is not a better topic to research than renewable and alternative energy sources, as it saves money and the environment.

We ask that the University make a stronger effort to finding viable solutions to today’s depleting energy sources. While the University attempts to conserve energy, they should be at the forefront of energy research. After all, conserving energy will only last so long.

The News-Gazette reported that in a state compliance audit released last Thursday, the University spent $7.5 million more than was budgeted for energy in fiscal year 2008. In this economy, it’s not only about conserving energy, but saving money as well. Although it may be less expensive to forgo this research, in the long run, the lack of research will cost us.

The rest of the world has already been on the clean energy bandwagon for some time. It’s our turn to hop on.

According to the New York Daily News, Obama’s 10-year budget proposal contains nearly $75 billion to fund permanent tax cuts for energy research and experimentation.

Obama also outlined a clean energy program that’s included in the $787 billion stimulus package that would shell out $59 billion in funding from the Department of Energy and $20 billion in tax incentives for clean energy. Overall, Obama plans to “double our country’s supply of renewable energy and make the largest investment in basic research funding in American history.”

If that’s not a step in the right direction, we don’t know what is. But it’s our responsibility as a flagship state university to contribute to conserving energy and finding solutions for alternative and renewable energy resources.

While we’re ultimately pushing for more energy research to be done for long-term effects, it can’t hurt for faculty and students to take part in conserving energy.

Saturday night from 8:30-9:30 p.m. was Earth Hour. Communities, businesses and buildings around the world turned off their lights to conserve energy. Though it is the thought that counts, Earth Hour is only one day out of the year, and it doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of conserving energy or moving forward toward cleaner energy.

More needs to be done.

On a day-to-day basis, we don’t realize how much energy we use in our classrooms, computer labs, libraries and even residence halls. Before conserving energy is no longer an option, we should do what we can.