Whitman Branches Out To Tree-Based Energy Source on Campus

Molly Johanson

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Backpage.New Green Energy Outlets in Trees.Schuh.1

Illustration by Tyle Schuh.

Instead of a triumphant ribbon-cutting ceremony catered with little cakes by Bon Appétit, the unveiling of Whitman’s expanded green energy system, Whitvironmenttm, was conducted through a simple trial run to an excited audience of dozens this Monday. Jorge Watercrossing, Whitman’s president, demonstrated to the crowd the triumphant charging noise of his iPhone as he plugged it in to one of the trees between Olin Hall and the Science Building.

“This is a proud day at Whitman College. A day when a group of student’s thoughts, actions and spray-painted signs actually resulted in real change has finally come,” said Watercrossing, giving a nod to the many members of Whitman’s environmental club and the three non-members that were present at the event.

At the close of last semester, the environmental club finally celebrated victory as the Whitman Board of Trustees approved the proposal to divest from fossil fuels, and instead focused on alternative energy. Seth Beards ’13 initially came up with the winning source of alternative energy that pushed the Board of Trustee’s vote in their favor.

“We just had to extend the great idea we already had to greater reaches of campus ” said Beards.

Beards is referring, of course, to the electricity sockets located on the boulder outside of Olin. The power is sourced, not from traditional means, but from the actual spiritual energy of the rock. Beard’s creative solution to reformat the system to access the aura of trees on campus was pure ES-bio major genius.

After the initial hang-up over the name conflicting with Whitman’s investment club, Whitvestment, Whitvironmenttm was up and running. The project is piloting with five trees, but Beards states that they are hoping to expand to every tree on campus.

“It’s so exciting to see the result of a whole semester’s worth of campaigning come to fruition. It was such a long, hard struggle,” said Hazel Greenleaf ’16, wearing a “Divest This” t-shirt. “The best part about Whitvironmenttm is just how visible it will make green energy on campus. Everyone will be studying in the grass and charging their computers at the same time.”

Whitvestment is currently looking in to marketing Whitvironmenttm to similar tree-covered campuses around the country.