Monday, September 26, 2011

CAMPAIGN CALLS ON COUNTRY’S LARGEST STADIUM TO GO SOLAR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 26 September 2011

CONTACTS:
Monica Patel, Policy Specialist, Ecology Center, monica@ecocenter.org, (734) 369-9277
Jess Leber, Senior Organizer, Environment, Change.org, jess@change.org, (516) 658-9606

****PRESS RELEASE****

CAMPAIGN CALLS ON COUNTRY’S LARGEST STADIUM TO GO SOLAR

Over 3,000 people join popular campaign on Change.org urging the University of Michigan to join NFL’s green power trend.


ANN ARBOR, MI — More than 3,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org calling on the University of Michigan to commit to using solar energy in its football stadium.

The campaign, created by the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, follows a growing NFL trend of renewable energy-powered national sports stadiums, including the homes of the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and Washington Redskins. Activists hope the petition on Change.org will lead the University of Michigan, home to the Big 10 Wolverines and the largest-capacity stadium in North America, to become the first big-name college football school to join in.

“The UM stadium has the potential to be the largest athletic venue in North America with solar panels, which is fitting with the University’s claim to be ‘the leaders and the best’,” said Monica Patel, policy specialist at the Ecology Center. “Even though the electricity generated won’t solve the climate crisis, it will go a long way in terms of solar energy education — just think of the awareness raised among the 100,000+ fans there on Game Day, and millions of others who tune in. The move would also give real support to Michigan's growing solar energy industry."

The petition, addressed to University President Mary Sue Coleman, Athletic Director David Brandon, and Director of Campus Sustainability Initiatives Terry Alexander, is being circulated online. Supporters also plan to seek signatures at Michigan football games this fall.

“What these activists have accomplished is really impressive,” said Jess Leber, a senior organizer for Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. “In just a few weeks, the Ecology Center has inspired thousands of University of Michigan community members to make their voices heard on solar energy. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch the Ecology Center’s campaign take off.”

In 2009, University of Michigan students completed a feasibility assessment of a stadium solar project, estimating that an installation could divert 776 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Ecology Center’s campaign is asking University officials to take move beyond feasibility assessments by engaging with Michigan’s solar manufacturers and developing a project to offset some of the stadium’s electricity use and feed it back into the grid during times when the stadium isn’t used.

The petition asks University of Michigan leadership to announce a commitment to solar energy at the college’s annual EarthFest this Tuesday.

Live signature totals from Ecology Center’s campaign on Change.org:
http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-the-university-of-michigan-for-solar-at-the-big-house

Comments from petition signers such as these below can be found here:

Anthony King, UM alum and Ann Arbor resident: “As an alumnus of UM, I was always taught to think of us as the leaders and best, and not just for sports. Here is an opportunity for sports and the social and academic side of the University to work together, and set an example for the nation.”

Gloria Zimet, UM alum and Ann Arbor resident: “As an Ann Arbor resident and UM alum, I see this initiative as a golden opportunity for the university and its talented students to not only support environmental sustainability, but to become nationally recognized for their leadership role by doing so at one of its most beloved and well-known arenas, the ‘Big House.’”

For more information on the Ecology Center, please visit: http://www.ecocenter.org/about/about-ecology-center

The Ecology Center is a membership-based, nonprofit environmental organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded by community activists after the country's first Earth Day in 1970, the Ecology Center is now a regional leader that works for a safe and healthy environment where people live, work, and play. Ann Arbor 350, a project of the Ecology Center, is connected with an international campaign to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis; scientists say 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

For more information on Change.org, please visit: http://www.change.org/about

Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

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