The history of the ASCP dates back to April of 2004 and student government leaders from the Community College of Denver (CCD), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), and University of Colorado Denver (UCD) working together to complete projects that would reduce the campus’s ecological footprint as well as decrease Auraria’s dependence upon fossil fuels . To accomplish this a referendum was submitted to the students of Auraria via the Student Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board (SACAB) asking whether the students were in favor of authorizing the Board of Directors of the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) to collect a tri-institutional “Clean Energy Fee” of $1 per student per semester. With the students of Auraria voting in approval of the supplemental fee, SACAB’s student government leaders used the referendum’s funding to purchase renewable wind energy credits to offset approximately 45% of Auraria’s annual electricity usage through 2006.
In the Spring of 2007, the ASCP Advisory Committee of SACAB submitted a referendum to the students of Auraria not only to renew the original Clean Energy Fee, but to enhance it by increasing the fee to $3 for 2008, $4 for 2009, and $5 for 2010. With 96% of the voting student body being in favor of the referendum the ASCP was able to not only offset 100% of the campus’s electricity via renewable wind energy credits, but begin to fund energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste diversion, and outreach and education projects as well. Such projects ranged from major lighting and water fixture retrofits in both the PE Center and North Classroom buildings that collectively reduced Auraria’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 300 metric tons.
The third iteration of the ASCP’s funding was voted in by students in the Spring 2011 semester via a referendum that continued the $5 fee through the Spring of 2016, led to the hiring of a full time Sustainability Officer to lead the program, and expanded the program’s focus to also include alternative transportation as well as food and garden projects. During this time student representatives from all three schools approved several sustainability projects such as the Tivoli Station’s LED lighting retrofit that reduced its energy usage by 47%, a 390 solar panel array being installed on the roof of the arts building, a weather station being installed on campus to make its irrigation system more efficient, increased bicycle infrastructure in the form of more bike racks and repair stations, an expansion of the campus’s recycling and composting efforts beyond the Tivoli food court, the construction of the Connect Auraria Garden on the south side of the Science Building, as well as an internship program aimed at improving the ASCP’s outreach and education. Collectively, these projects have contributed to reducing the Auraria Campus’s ecological footprint by keeping an additional 81 metric tons of GHG out of the atmosphere every year, saving 3 million gallons of water annually, and increasing the food court’s waste diversion rate up to nearly 40%.
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