Student Activists at Michigan State University Risk Arrest to Quit Coal
by Daniel Schreiber
October 21, 2011
On Thursday October 20th, seven student activists marched into President Simon’s office at the Hannah Administration building at Michigan State University to ask MSU to transition to 100% clean energy.
UPDATE 3: Video of the Sit-In and Student testimonials.
UPDATE 2: The three students have all been released. More updates on the administration’s response soon to come.
UPDATE 1: Three students arrested at Michigan State University Sit-in.
This afternoon, seven student activists marched into President Simon’s office at the Hannah Administration building at Michigan State University to ask MSU to transition to 100% clean energy.
Activists walked in wearing Greenpeace Quit Coal t-shirts and surgical masks to display the health risks of burning coal.
Today’s protest comes after two years of attempting to work with MSU’s Administration to transition the campus from burning coal to 100% clean energy.
Michigan State University has the largest on-campus coal plant in the nation, burning over 200,000 tons of coal each year. The energy supplied by this plant powers only the campus, but its pollution spews out into the community of East Lansing, and far beyond. Incidences of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, lung disease, and emphysema are drastically higher in areas near coal-fired power plants. Coal pollution causes 31 deaths annually in East Lansing. Not only are there serious immediate health risks, but coal pollution is also the single greatest contributor to climate change in the United States.
“Coal is harmful to our environment and us, but not everyone knows. I think it is important to raise awareness of the problem so it can be fixed and the damaging effects of coal can be stopped,” said student activist Kendra Majewski who is currently inside President Simon’s office.
Since beginning of MSU Greenpeace’s Quit Coal campaign two years ago, students have gathered petitions, rallied, marched, met with the administration, and brought clean energy experts to campus to meet with physical plant engineers. However, the administration still refuses to have a sincere conversation about transitioning to clean energy. Students are frustrated and ashamed by the lack of responsibility that administration has taken. They are demanding that the administration quit coal and commit to an ambitious timeline for the university to transition to 100% clean energy.
Just yesterday 60 students participated in a dance flash mob, and rally in front of the administration building demanding 100% clean energy. Today, students have returned to show that they are going to keep demanding clean air for their fellow students and community until the administration agrees to quit coal. These actions were performed in solidarity with hundreds of other campuses across the nation for the month of October’s 100 Actions for 100% Clean Energy.
Stay posted for more information about the action.