USC’s Environmental Affairs Organization is aiming to bring solar panels to campus through their new initiative called the Go Solar Campaign.What began as a student-driven petition has now evolved into a multifaceted effort to ensure that USC goes solar. The petition currently in circulation claims that despite the efforts of students, the university has not responded to the desire for more efficient energy.“Despite USC’s reputation as a cutting-edge research institute, commitments to sustainability and its location in sunny downtown Los Angeles, the campus does not currently have solar panels. Over the past few years, student environmental groups, such as us, the Environmental Affairs Organization (EAO), a member organization of USC Environmental Student Assembly, have not been given a commitment to action on this issue,” read a statement on the petition’s website.Alexander Vermie, a senior majoring in environmental studies who is in charge of the Go Solar Campaign, acknowledged his predecessors’ previous attempts at bringing solar energy to USC, but noted that they were impeded by some of the administration’s concerns.Despite recent overcast skies, California is the perfect location for solar energy, a resource upon which many local schools have already capitalized. According to Vermie, Occidental College, the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University have all implemented solar power. Even many smaller, Los Angeles-based community colleges have transitioned to sustainable energy on a much smaller budget than that which is available to USC.The Environmental Affairs Organization, leading the charge on this push for solar panels, has engaged the administration about the issue.“They are very focused on the financials of the project,” Vermie said. “That’s why they haven’t done it themselves. They want a return on investment on new projects that they don’t believe they will get from solar panels.”In order to address these specific concerns, EAO is pursuing alternative means to implement the use of solar power that would mitigate the financial burdens of installing solar panels, such as a donor-based system or power purchasing agreements. The latter has proven popular among other universities as it creates a mutually beneficial relationship between solar companies and colleges.In this system, the administration leases out land for the installation of solar panels, and in return, the university acquires a cheaper form of electricity. This requires no up-front costs for the administration.In trying to persuade USC to execute EAO’s proposal, they have cited the success of other schools. The University of California schools, for example, announced two agreements in September that constituted the largest solar energy purchase by any United States institution of higher education.Ethan Bialick, a junior majoring in business administration, has taken the lead in constructing the business plan that EAO will present to USC.“We will be outlining the reasons why USC should go solar, and how it should do so. We’re really examining all the different options available,” he said.Vermie sees this as an achievable goal considering it is incremental in nature and financially beneficial to the university. EAO also wants to engage new donors who haven’t made a financial contribution to the school in the past to encourage them to contribute.Bialick said the prospect of donating for solar energy could be incentivized for donors.“The idea is that donors could collectively contribute funds towards solar projects which would enable them to actually be recognized for their efforts. We aren’t sure what that system looks like. We are considering collaborating with Ignite USC as a crowdsourcing platform,” Bialick said.In terms of next steps, EAO is disseminating more information to the student body concerning solar energy, as well as continuing with the petition. They also seek to host more campus-awareness events as the end of the semester approaches.Overall, Vermie is optimistic about the solar panels.“We can really make this happen if [we] get ourselves organized and [have] a lot of student support,” he said.
Mortgage applications declined again for the week ending November 6, 2015. Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed that mortgage loan application volume decreased 1.3 percent from last week on a seasonally adjusted basis.On an unadjusted basis, the index decreased 2 percent.According to the MBA, refinances fell 2 percent compared to last week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier, while the unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent and was 18 percent higher than the same week one year ago.The refinance share of mortgage activity rose from 59.7 percent the previous week to 59.8 percent of total applications this week, the report showed. Meanwhile, the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.6 percent of total applications.The report found that the Federal Housing Administration share of total applications increased to 14.1 percent from 13.2 percent the week prior. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs share of total applications decreased to 10.9 percent from 11.9 percent the week prior. The U.S. Department of Agriculture share of total applications was unchanged from last week at 0.7 percent.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.12 percent, its highest level since August 2015 when the rate was 4.01 percent, with points decreasing to 0.45 from 0.47 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.35 percent, its highest level since August 2015, from 3.24 percent, with points decreasing to 0.35 from 0.37 for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 3.22 percent, its highest level since February 2015, from 3.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.25 for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.Click here to view the full report. November 11, 2015 596 Views Mortgage Applications Slip Again This Week ARMS Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Mortgage Refinance 2015-11-11 Staff Writer Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Market Studies, News