Five students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will go to Washington D.C. on Friday, April 15, to participate in Power Shift 2011, a three-day, student-organized summit focused on climate change policy.
An estimated 10,000 students from all 50 states are expected to attend the event. Scheduled from April 15-18, Power Shift 2011 will include presentations from former Vice President Al Gore and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Students and attendees will also have the chance to voice their passions on Lobby Day. The group that participated in Power Shift 2009’s Lobby Day was the largest citizen lobby day to-date.
“We’re excited to participate in Power Shift 2011 because we believe our generation can lead the way to a clean energy economy,” says Eric Farrow, a graduate student from Cape Girardeau, Mo., studying environmental engineering at Missouri S&T. “We’re going to Washington to demand our elected officials stand up and protect public health and clean air.”
Melissa Elder, a senior in environmental engineering from Waynesville, Mo., says she looks forward to participating in a movement that will define her generation. “Either our grandchildren will thank us for standing up for what is right, or there won’t be anyone here left to thank.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity to learn both sustainability and leadership skills,” says Akalpit Gadre, a graduate student in mechanical engineering from Rolla. “I hope to learn more about how to live sustainably on campus.”
Jordan Hindman, junior in environmental engineering from Lee’s Summit, Mo., says saving resources and treating the world better is a longtime passion of his. “I asked myself, ‘Do I want to be part of the dormant crowd of people lying in wait for the world to change according to our needs, or will I be part of the very capable and brilliant generation that will spearhead the charge in taking a stand in favor of renewable energy?”
This year, students can choose from one of four tracks, including “Transforming Higher Education into the Innovation Hub for a Clean Energy Society.” Through focused workshops, students will gain exposure to successes and failures at other schools and learn new ways to engage their peers. Farrow will be on a panel discussing moving campuses away from coal-produced energy.
“The other panelists will likely focus more on organizing their Campuses Beyond Coal campaigns,” says Farrow, referring to a campaign by the Sierra Club and the Sierra Student Coalition to reduce coal usage on campuses. “I will talk about solutions, specifically why geothermal makes sense for our campus.” Missouri S&T recently announced plans to replace its 65-year-old power plant with a geothermal system, reducing the university’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 25,000 tons per year.
Also attending Power Shift 2011 is Ranganadhan Voona, a graduate student in aerospace engineering from Rolla.