The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter-to-the-editor: Where are those turbines?

If you’re a prospective student arriving at the Des Moines airport on your way to visit Grinnell College, you might be confused by an ad that greets you in the concourse. It shows two wind turbines overlooking a cornfield landscape, praising the college as “farmers of ingenuity.” The turbines make for a beautiful picture. It’s just too bad you can’t see anything like it from campus—at least not yet.

As alums who worked on environmental issues at Grinnell, this ad is intensely frustrating. Grinnell claims to be a leader in campus environmental responsibility, and although it does have a small turbine at an off-campus research area, the administration has continually pushed back and delayed plans for the construction of college-owned wind turbines—like those pictured in the ad—that would power a significant amount of the campus. Students have worked tirelessly with the administration for years to try to reduce the campus’s carbon emissions with wind energy, only to hear more and more reasons for delay. Given this history, we are disappointed that the College is seeking to capitalize on the green cachet of wind energy without having put any actual capital into constructing large turbines.

Because Grinnell has dragged its feet, it has lost its chance to be a leader, both in the nation and in Iowa. Last month, Luther College in Decorah announced that it will set up a wind turbine to power one third of its campus. Luther expects the installation will be completed by the summer of next year.

We, and many other concerned alumni and students of Grinnell, want this ad taken down and the long-planned wind turbines to be put up. Rather than advertise the future, we wish the College would spend its money building it. Real “farmers of ingenuity” know that actions speak louder than words.

—Eric Nost ’09, Emily Stiever ’09, Brian Turner ’02, Eli Zigas ’06

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