Skip to the content

Kansas State University

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. K-State Home >
  2. News Services >
  3. August news releases
Print This Article  

Sources: Sara Leavitt,;
and Brian Zinke,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Two Kansas State University students took part in the Youth Policy Summit on Energy Efficiency, Aug. 2-6, in Sacramento, Calif.

Brian Zinke, junior in wildlife biology, Lenexa, and Sara Leavitt, senior in political science, Mound City, were among the 34 students chosen nationwide to take part in the summit.

Students invited to the summit explored how policymakers in California could improve the state's energy efficiency in vehicles, buildings and electricity generation in order to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil and create green jobs. Recommendations made during the summit will be shared with the state's leading energy policymakers and stakeholders.

In preparation for the summit, students were to research a given topic so they could make recommendations.

Zinke researched the legal and social aspects of plans to bring the average fuel efficiency of vehicles in the U.S. up to 60 miles per gallon by 2059, and to increase the use of mass transit and reduce vehicle miles driven. He also researched how these issues could play out in Los Angeles.

"Energy efficiency is becoming a critical issue in our society and world due to the fact that it's not only costly to our environment but also our wallets," Zinke said. "It's obvious that most Americans aren't going to change their living habits drastically anytime soon, so in order to reduce our impact on the earth we need to be efficient with the energy that we do use."

Leavitt researched the environmental and educational aspects of doubling the efficiency and/or halving the emissions of coal-fired power plants, and how Edison Electric Institute could be involved. She used the CQ Researcher Plus Archive and other online databases provided by K-State's Hale Library.

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues our generation will face," Leavitt said. "One of the best ways we can mitigate that is by utilizing energy efficiency practices. We already have available many of the tools necessary to increase fuel efficiency, implement energy-efficient practices in buildings and double power plant efficiency. We must simply generate the political will to implement these practices and to research the remaining challenges."

Leavitt and Zinke both plan to present their recommendations and findings to state leaders in Kansas.

The Youth Policy Summit was conducted by The Keystone Center and the Alliance to Save Energy and was underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute.

The Keystone Center is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Keystone, Colo., that promotes non-biased, science-based learning through a variety of education programs, and brings together public, private and civic-sector leaders to solve contentious policy issues.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the clean and efficient use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy and national security.