Connecticut College News
10,000 college students are expected at the conference02/16/2009
When 10,000 students gather in Washington, D.C. during the last weekend in February to demand political leaders pass bold climate and energy legislation, Connecticut College students will be well represented.
In fact, 134 Connecticut College students are already registered to attend Power Shift '09, a four-day climate and energy conference that will culminate with a rally on Capitol Hill. Only two other colleges in the country are bringing more students than Connecticut College.
Tyler Dunham '09 and Emily Conrad '11, co-presidents of the College's Renewable Energy Club, have spent the last month recruiting, fundraising and coordinating transportation and housing for the big event.
"Our goal is to have the largest number of Connecticut College students ever to attend an out-of-state event," Dunham said.
While Dunham is still trying to verify that superlative, Conrad says she has been overwhelmed by the response. "We just started telling our friends about it, and they told their friends, and before you know it, we have 134 people who want to join us," she said.
Conrad and 14 other students attended Power Shift '07, the successful precursor to Power Shift '09.
"Standing with nearly 7,000 other young people from all over the country who all believe in a cleaner, more just and sustainable future was an experience that will live with me forever," she said.
For Sarah Berkley '11, the experience was life-changing - it was only after attending Power Shift '07 that Berkley decided to major in environmental studies. "It was the best decision I ever made," she said. "The panels, workshops and speakers were so influential that I can still remember them clearly a year later."
This year, Power Shift organizers are expecting 10,000 college students to descend on the nation's capital. The goal of this year's conference is to lobby for climate and energy policy that prioritizes renewable energy, green job creation, and an aggressive cap on carbon emissions. At the conference, students will attend workshops and movie screenings and hear from prominent speakers, including Van Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy, environmental justice advocate Majora Carter and representatives Edward Markey and Donna Edwards, before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators.
Natalie Theys '11 says she is looking forward to sharing ideas with thousands of environmentally-conscious peers. "The energy at the conference is mind-blowing and inspirational," she said.
Andy Irwin '10 is optimistic that the energy will translate to action. "I hope this will strengthen climate action both on and off campus," he said. "We need to make this movement more than just Whole Foods and Toyota Priuses."
For more information or to donate, visit http://rec.conncoll.edu/powershift.html.