Wind Powered

May 032004
Authors: Ben Bleckley

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,'”

Schroeder said.

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.”

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