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The power is yours
Clayton State celebrates Earth Day

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

On Tuesday, Clayton State University and nearly 50 environmentally friendly groups and organizations teamed up to celebrate Earth Day.

Information tables lined the University Center's "Main Street" and quadrangle, from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m., offering information on various ways to protect the environment.

The day included shirt- and-product giveaways, moonwalks for children and demonstrations of "green" technologies. Representatives from the Georgia Power Co., handed out energy-saving light bulbs, Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury of Morrow displayed new vehicles powered by electricity or propane, and Environmental Supply Depot demonstrated environmentally safe industrial cleaning products.

The event was coordinated by the university's Public Safety Department, which has sponsored Earth Day at Clayton State for the last several years. Administrative Assistant Rosalind Williams said the event is part of the department's efforts to keep the campus clean.

"We like to promote a healthy environment and clean environment," said Williams. "We want to get everybody involved in the green movement."

John Beale, a storm water management technician with the Clayton County Water Authority said the event was a way to educate and give back to the community. Beale distributed information explaining the county's new storm water utility, as well as ways to calculate and curb water usage.

"The Atlanta metro area is growing a lot," however, "our useable water is actually becoming less," said Beale. "We need to conserve now so we can accommodate people down the road."

Roger Moore, government sales manager of Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury of Morrow, showed curious visitors a Ford F-150 pickup truck converted by Roush Industries to utilize liquid propane rather than conventional motor fuel. A 50-gallon propane tank mounted in the truck bed gets 600 miles per fill.

Moore said since propane -- a petroleum byproduct -- generally costs $1.25 less per gallon than gasoline, propane-powered vehicles may provide Americans a viable transportation alternative as they catch on.

"Any place that can fill up a fish cooker can fill the vehicle," said Moore. "You're going to save money, it's much lower emissions, and with a designated alternative fuel vehicle, you can drive single in the [high-occupancy vehicle] lane."

Moore said a propane-converted F-150 sells for about $33,000 and added that the system "pays for itself" after 50,000 miles.

University senior, Michelle Wellborn, said the Earth Day event was "helpful" and "informative."

"I think it's helpful, because there are a lot of things out here that you don't really think about," said Wellborn.