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Editorial: Sustaining student activism

Published: October 2, 2009
Section: Front Page


Wednesday, university President Jehuda Reinharz had the pleasure of making an announcement that was actually good. Starting in November, preparations for the installation of a solar panel system atop Gosman will begin. The solar panels will provide the university with over 300,000 units of Kwatt energy per annum and will prevent nearly 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over the next 25 years.

The installation of solar panels will mark a turning point in Brandeis’ sustainability efforts. Instead of handing out reusable water bottles and threatening to eliminate Dasani from the entire campus, the university will soon be able to point to concrete measures that significantly reduce our environmental footprint. Best of all, the soon to be state of the art solar energy system comes at no cost to the university.

Thanks to the efforts of Students for Environmental Action and university Sustainability Coordinator Janna Cohen-Rosenthal, Brandeis will acquire the solar panels via a purchasing agreement with Alteris Renewables.

This announcement signifies what is best in student activism and student and staff collaboration. Students in SEA had an excellent idea and made the effort to reach out to renewable energy providers to see if their dream of solar panels for Brandeis could be made a reality. They then worked with Cohen-Rosenthal who was able to take their idea, their passion, and their research and turn it into a concrete plan that the university administration could get behind.

Everyday students at Brandeis develop a thousand ideas and plans that might improve our campus but most never go beyond the complaining stage. It is both refreshing and heartening to see that old-fashioned nose to the grindstone student activism is not dead. Judging by Wednesday’s announcement, it might just be the key to keeping our university alive and well.