At the end of her sophomore year, Britta Schroeder told her
roommate she wouldn’t graduate until CSU had wind power. Her
roommate just laughed.
The senior forestry major graduates this semester and leaves
behind her a more environmentally friendly campus. Students living
in the residence halls next year will have the option of running
their room off of wind power for an extra $17 a year.
The price was originally $42 for the year, but the Platte River
Power Authority was able to purchase power from another provider at
a reduced price, said Patty Bigner, a customer connections manager
with Fort Collins Utilities.
Each student choosing this route will prevent the burning of
approximately 2,000 pounds of coal and more than 3,000 pounds of
carbon dioxide emissions.
The road to success has not been an easy one, however.
“It can be frustrating when it takes this long, but it’s always
good when it happens,” said Carol Dollard, a community member
involved in the project and also a utilities engineer at CSU.
For almost three years, students, faculty and community members
have been meeting for lunch and discussing the options of getting
green power on campus, Schroeder said. They first wanted to start
the program the same way the University of Colorado-Boulder
“All they had to do was vote on their student fees. So when they
vote for their president and vice president, they were also allowed
to say ‘yes or no, I want to pay an extra dollar for wind power,'”
Hundreds of petitions were signed by students to increase
student fees by one dollar to buy wind power.
However, the bureaucracy at CSU does not work the same way. A
board chosen by the Associated Students of CSU determines how
student fees are spent, rather than a direct vote.
ASCSU suggested Schroeder raise money or try to convince the
Lory Student Center or Campus Recreation to purchase wind
“We knew that this would work because we’d have to raise money
every year, ” Schroeder said.
Eventually Schroeder did meet with the Student Fee Review Board,
which turned her down.
“I started meeting with all sorts of people,” Schroeder said.
“But everybody kept sending me to somebody else. A lot of times it
seemed like everyone was in favor of the idea, and they would give
me good suggestions, but nobody was telling me ‘this is how you can
do it.’ They were all very helpful, but I don’t think anybody
really knew how to go about doing it.”
Finally, at the end of Schroeder’s sophomore year, the students,
faculty and community members working toward the project made it a
goal to get wind power in the residence halls.
Her senior year, Schroeder ran for ASCSU as a senator.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” she said. “We didn’t want to
bother with all that bureaucracy red tape, administrative stuff, we
would go with ASCSU and hopefully get it done.”
There she proposed legislation that eventually passed through
senate and was signed by ASCSU President Jesse Lauchner.
“If it hadn’t been for Britta, we’re getting a little older and
jaded, and Britta is still young and idealistic and truly believes
these things can happen,” Dollard said. “And obviously her
perseverance paid off.”