Chancellor describes plans for involvement in local education, green energy
After describing University projects currently underway to the fewer than 50 students present at the speech Wednesday, Wrighton answered audience questions to discuss the school’s short-term plans to reach out to St. Louis schools and longer-term plans to grow renewable energy sources.
While most of the chancellor’s remarks centered on work already well underway, Wrighton teased the University’s plan to host a summer program for the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter school, a program the University currently sponsors. The program would bring together KIPP students from around the region to learn about how to thrive in higher education, not merely how to get admitted.
“They would come here for an in-residence program that would better prepare them for the success they should have in college,” Wrighton said. “KIPP tries to [encourage] students who graduate to go on to college, but we want them to be successful.”
Wrighton’s speech focused on the Leading Together fundraising campaign, its campus impact and how it has contributed to fulfilling University goals.
When asked about the school’s plans to divorce from reliance on fossil fuel companies, the chancellor responded that he believed the University was going to be dependent on fossils fuels for some decades but added that the University was investing human resources into developing renewable energy sources. He cited the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy & Sustainability as an example.
“The main point is, I would say, let’s not disinvest from that which we need, which is, for some decades to come, fossil fuels. That doesn’t mean we should not pursue aggressively renewables, and there’s certain incentives in place to develop renewable sources,“ Wrighton said.
Senior Rachel Goldstein, of Fossil Free WashU, said she was not surprised by his response.
“I’ve already met with [Wrighton], and I’m not surprised. That’s exactly what we expect to hear. The issue now is just keep letting the chancellor know that students are talking about this, and make it as salient as possible so he starts seeing it as a valid option,” Goldstein said.
Though general student turnout was low, those present seemed to enjoy the address.
“[The address] was very informative as to how complex running a university is—just how many ideas Chancellor Wrighton listens to and has to process in relation to all the other things that he and the administration are responsible for, ” freshman Monte Cole said.