Michigan State funeral for Sparty the SpartanToday, in conjunction with the first Michigan State Board of Trustees meeting, MSU Greenpeace held a mock funeral for their beloved mascot, Sparty the Spartan, who was a victim of dirty coal.

Students entered the Hannah Administration Building dressed in black, wearing white flowers, and singing songs of remembrance for Sparty and their university, which decided to continue using dirty coal instead of transitioning to 100 % clean, renewable energy. Students gathered around a life-sized coffin where they laid their mascot to rest. They then proceeded to Sparty's final resting place, underneath a statue on campus.

Jordan Lindsay, a sophomore in MSU Greenpeace, said that this semester kickoff event is “a message to the administration that continuing to burn dirty coal at the school’s T.B. Simon coal plant could tarnish the university’s image of being a forward-thinking, innovative university.” MSU’s campus coal plant is the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation, burning over 200,000 tons of dirty coal every year.

MSU Greenpeace Vice President Adam Liter is a member of the university’s Energy Steering Committee, which at one point suggested the university transition to clean energy within 100 years. Adam said, “given the public health risks and threat to our climate, he is deeply concerned about the slow process and lack of ambition within the Steering Committee.”

The students are asking the Michigan State Board of Trustees to get serious, make a commitment to quit coal while transitioning to 100 percent clean energy. They envision a future where Michigan State University attracts top engineering students from around the world, becomes a research hotspot for clean energy innovation, and jumpstarts the Michigan economy with clean energy production.

The choice rests squarely with the MSU Board of Trustees. Stay tuned for their response.

You too can take action this coming October.

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