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Student-led sustainability at Carolina

A new fully-electric Chapel Hill Transit bus and a rooftop full of solar panels are just two ways Carolina students are working to make our campus more sustainable.

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As the Carolina community celebrates Earth Day 2022, it will do so with two major examples of sustainability that weren’t around at last year’s celebration: A new fully-electric Chapel Hill Transit bus and a rooftop full of solar panels on the new Curtis Media Center.

The projects are the result of efforts led by a group of Carolina students.

Students on Carolina’s Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, or RESPC, help evaluate and finance sustainability-related projects across campus with funds generated by the $4 renewable energy fee that all students pay each semester. In addition to the fully-electric bus and solar panels, RESPC has helped install motion sensor lights in residence halls and hopes to bring electric vehicle charging stations to campus.

“Carolina’s pretty unique in terms of having renewable energy and a committee that is able to work with that fee, especially having students there,” said Ideliya Khismatova, a junior and co-chair of RESPC. “We, as students, get to directly work with the funding and create projects that are implemented on campus, and we can walk around and see our own work.”

The bus RESPC financed is one of three fully-electric buses being added to the Chapel Hill Transit fleet this spring. The other two were made possible by a mix of funding from public sources. All three buses recently began operating on routes around Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Learn more about the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee