Last April the University of the Pacific completed their solar panel project. These solar panel canopies can now be seen in eight parking lots including by the Quads, Fraternity and Sorority Circle, Monagan Hall, and Chan Hall on the Stockton Campus. The project also added eight new electric vehicle charging stations with two charging plugs each. The university now ranks first among private universities in on-campus renewable energy generation.
This project was still in planning stages last time the Pacifican covered it. Now, the solar panels have been in use for nearly seven months and the University has already started to reduce its carbon footprint. The solar panels were predicted to produce 30% of the energy needs for the Stockton campus.
It’s difficult to know exactly how much energy the solar panels are producing today but University of the Pacific’s Director of Sustainability Jessica Bilecki says that “the solar panels are producing as anticipated.” We have also seen positive changes on campus since the completion of the project. Sustainability is not just about facts and figures, it is also about what’s in people’s minds. Bilecki mentions that “in addition to the system being one of the largest on-campus arrays at a private institution in the country, the solar arrays are also highly visible.” She believes that “…this has had the impact of moving sustainability to the top of mind for many Pacificans. The arrays clearly communicate that Pacific is serious about its sustainability efforts. This makes people wonder what else Pacific is doing and thus sends a lot of inquiries and collaborations my way. Effectively, it has made it easier to partner across the University to strengthen sustainability efforts in a multitude of ways.”
We can see this increase in visibility for sustainable practices from different groups across campus. The ASuop Sustainability Committee hosted a fossil fuel Divestment Forum on November 4th, 2022. The purpose of the forum was to listen to student opinions about the negative impacts of the fossil fuel industry. Following student comments on the event, the Grove grocery store on campus chose to stop providing single use plastic bags to purchase at checkout. Students that are interested in sustainability can purchase an eco clam from the DUC to use when they get food to-go. The Environmental Conservation Club also meets in DUC 214 on Fridays from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm and they are always looking for new members.