Students Seek Ways to Enhance University’s Commitment to Green Energy

A photo of Ashley Huber and Lina Montoya at the Florida Automated Vehicle Summit with a Tesla model car

USFSP students Ashley Huber and Lina Montoya explore a Tesla car at the Florida Automated Vehicle Summit.

Several undergraduate and graduate students recently attended the Florida Automated Vehicles Summit in Tampa to learn about new technological innovations and energy efficient transportation options. Admission for the students to attend the summit was sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes.

“Autonomous technology will change the fundamentals of every aspect of our daily lives,” said Brandes. “Students today are in a unique time, the time between the lightning and the thunder, where they can see what is coming and play a role in shaping that new innovative future. I’m glad we were able to pull partners together to contribute to the cost of students, so that they can attend this exciting summit.”

Ashley Huber, 24, an Environmental Science, Policy and Geography graduate student, said she was excited about the opportunity to attend.

“Going to this conference really opens our eyes to see what is feasible for our campus and Tampa as well,” said Huber, who has been heavily involved in the Student Green Energy Fund and other environmental student organizations on campus. She has worked closely with USFSP Sustainability Coordinator Brian Pullen and Environmental Science and Policy senior Gabby Thorton to implement sustainable projects on campus.

Their efforts tie in with the university’s commitment to care for the environment. The university’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to reduce the baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the campus by 50 percent by the year 2035 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the CAP, one of the transportation-related strategies will be to create an efficiency fleet standard to reduce emissions by switching out campus vehicles to fleet vehicles or electric vehicles that are charged via solar stations.

On Friday, Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m., USFSP will join the City of St. Petersburg for a press conference announcing the university’s CAP and the city’s Integrated Sustainability Action Plan. The St. Petersburg City Council recently approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, making it so St. Petersburg will be the first city in Florida to make this type of commitment.