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On the Road with the Format: Everything’s Gone Green

All right, all right — week three, here we are! Even in the wake of Nor’Easter, I’m still spreading the gospel of “green.”

So, many of the venues we are playing on this tour are college campuses. I’ve never attended college (couldn’t afford it, joined a rock band instead) and therefore, have no insight into the day-to-day of a college student or how students play a part in saving the planet. I have been provided a “microscope” in the way of a daily town forum conducted by Adam Gardner and Mark Orlowski. In these discussions, we touch on a variety of topics like alternative fuels, carbon neutrality, and endowments or rather “sustainable endowments.”

Zuh? What is that word “endowment?”

The college “endowment” includes both the college’s general and corporate capital and various trust funds given by benefactors for specific purposes. Endowment investments have two goals: growth of principal (capital appreciation) and generation of income. All, or part, of the income provides for continuing support of the endowed organization (college, church, etc…)

The Wabash College endowment was somewhere in the neighborhood of $336,698,871 (For a list of the top 50, click here).

Interesting. But what to do with all that money?

Enter Mark Orlowski, Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Endowments Institute. Mark is the co-headliner at these town forums, addressing the student body on ways they can potentially invest their endowment in renewable energy resources, such as wind power, solar energy and geo-thermal heating. Mark also works with big businesses, such as malls, and large facility outlets on ways they can reduce there kilowatt consumption.

Wait. So some of that money can be invested in renewable energy, and in time, you’ll actually make money in return?

What’s wrong with that?

Well, nothing really. If you are in college and you are at all interested in bringing a more sustainable environment to your campus then “go” — go to your student government, go to your Greek Council, and go to your board of trustees. Tell them you’ve heard the word of sustainable endowments and sing its praises. Go forth and make history!

— Marko

On the Web:
Campus Consciousness Tour website
Sustainable Endowments Institute website