Michigan State University ignores students on Earth Day
by David Pinsky
April 22, 2011
Today, Michigan State University students and community members marched and rallied with climate activist Tim DeChristopher at the steps of Michigan State’s Hannah Administration Building, eagerly awaiting an announcement from the University to stop burning dirty, dangerous coal on campus and transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
Tim said, “I am joining the Spartan community today because what happens at Michigan State sets a trend for every other dirty campus coal plant in the nation. Students are very concerned, and the administration must answer their calls for action.”
On April 6th, students with MSU Greenpeace and MSU Beyond Coal decided to take a stand to shut down the largest on-campus coal plant in the United States. They sent a letter to Michigan State University President Simon asking for a commitment by Earth Day to stop using coal and create an ambitious timeline for switching to clean, renewable energy like wind and solar. The letter was signed by nearly 30 environmental and student groups including national groups like Greenpeace USA, Sierra Club, 350.org, Rainforest Action Network, and the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition. Students with MSU Beyond Coal also delivered 1,000 hand-written letters to the administration today.
Despite massive public support and calls from the student body for Michigan State to lead the nation in clean, renewable energy, the University failed to answer this moral imperative today and agree to stop using dirty energy.
There was no official response from the administration. Michigan State University completely ignored the students today. A surprising move on Earth Day for a campus that claims to “Be Spartan Green.”
MSU Greenpeace member Claire Gaut said this about today’s event: “We are disappointed that the administration is not listening to the student body’s concerns. We are prepared to come back stronger next semester and force the University to take us seriously.”
Michigan State students will continue fighting for their future. A future where they will see clean energy on campus well before we cook the planet; where people will not die from the extraction, burning, and waste disposal of dirty energy; where higher education institutions once again become leaders in research and innovation.