Update: Michigan State Campaign for Clean Energy is Making Waves

by David Pinsky

October 26, 2011

Last Thursday, as part of 100 Actions for 100% Clean Energy, seven Michigan State University students held a sit-in at their president’s office demanding MSU shut down its coal plant and transition to 100% clean energy.

Unfortunately, Michigan State’s President Lou Anna K. Simon delivered a weak response to the students’ demands. Even though she was in the building, President Simon refused to meet with the students. Instead, she sent them a letter that contained several inaccuracies and stated that she would not commit to 100% clean energy.

Students continued to wait for President Simon to meet with them. When the building closed at 5pm, three students were arrested..

The next day, student Adam Liter spoke before the Board of Trustees, sharing his vision of a clean energy future at Michigan State one that protects student health and revitalizes Michigan’s economy. He confronted President Simon about the inaccurate information in her letter to students the night before as he read the letter aloud to the Board of Trustees’ members. Adam made a direct ask to the Board of Trustees to join him in realizing his vision for 100% clean energy at Michigan State. After the meeting, Adam spoke directly with President Simon, who reiterated that she would not commit to quit coal at this time.

Michigan State students are being asked by President Simon to do nothing while a broken process the Energy Transition Steering Committee makes its recommendations to the Board of Trustees. At one point, the Steering Committee suggested transitioning to 100% clean energy in the next 100 years. By that time, our planet will be cooked from climate change. MSU students are refusing to stand by while Michigan State refuses to protect their health and future.

Michigan State students went to Midwest Power Shift this past weekend to share their story and gain support from student activists across the Midwest. At Midwest Power Shift, they premiered a video of the sit-in before a crowd of 500 young people. Greenpeace’s Executive Director Philip Radford joined Michigan State students on stage, where students received a standing ovation. With 25 Michigan State students standing behind him, Philip called President Simon’s office. He held out the phone to the crowded auditorium so 500 young people could shout “NO MORE COAL” into the phone. Students nationwide are joining Phil in calling President Simon. Since last Thursday’s sit-in, President Simon’s office has received hundreds of phone calls asking Michigan State to quit coal and switch to 100% clean energy!

The courageous acts of these seven students risking arrest for 100% clean energy has ignited a movement at Michigan State, a movement through the Midwest, and inspired thousands throughout the youth climate movement.

Join the fight for 100% clean energy at Michigan State. Call President Simon today and ask her to quit coal and transition Michigan State University to 100% clean energy.

With your help, we will quit coal at Michigan State!

David Pinsky

By David Pinsky

David authors Greenpeace USA’s annual seafood sustainability report for the nation’s largest supermarkets, holding major companies accountable and shifting seafood practices that have global impacts on our oceans.

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