October 3, 2011
Contact: Kim Teplitzky, 267-307-4707,
Students Take Action Nationwide to Move Campuses
Over 100 Actions Planned Demanding Schools Switch to 100% Clean Energy
Washington, DC – This week students at Virginia Tech, Purdue
College in Maine
and the University of Illinois kicked off a nationwide month of creative
actions focused on moving America’s
campus’ beyond coal. The coordinated
effort called 100% Clean: 100 Actions for
Clean Energy aims to unite local efforts into a nationwide movement to
retire university coal plants, cut university ties with the coal industry and
move the nation’s institutions of higher education to clean energy solutions.
“We have students on our campus who are getting
sick from breathing coal dust coming from the campus coal plant across the
street from their dorm. This is
unacceptable. We want Virginia Tech and
universities nation-wide to be leading the way towards an innovative, healthy
and clean energy future, not stuck in the past relying on dirty coal,” said
Kara Dodson, a senior at Virginia Tech and Coordinator of the Campuses Beyond
Coal campaign on campus.
Since the Sierra Club launched the national
Campuses Beyond Coal campaign 16 schools have already committed to retiring
their coal-fired plants on campus.
Pollution from these plants is responsible for dangerous pollution
including mercury, carbon dioxide, arsenic and lead and can lead to more severe
asthma attacks, bronchial infections and cancer.
More than 150 students from across Virginia rallied at
Virginia Tech wearing face masks and green hard hats at the Virginia Power
Shift summit on Sunday. They called on
the university administration to live up to their motto, “Invent the Future” by
retiring the campus coal plant that poses a health hazard to students.
included a student who lived in Thomas Hall, a dorm next door to the Virginia
Tech coal plant, showing off a black soot covered towel she used to wipe down
her window sill. Other students keep air
filters in their windows to keep the coal dust out of their homes, but still
struggle with the light and noise from the plant on a daily basis that can make
it difficult to sleep or study.
“Every year a
new group of students are subject to the pollution from this plant and others
like it on campuses across the country.
It’s time for our universities to step up and lead the way to moving our
nation beyond coal and dirty energy to real clean energy solutions,” said
Madeline Rigatti a sophomore at Virginia Tech and former Thomas Hall
resident. “Students like me have had to live with being sick because we
had the bad luck of living near this plant and it’s simply wrong.”
leading the way pushing their universities to invest in innovative clean energy
solutions. This month of action
demonstrates the growing momentum on college campuses to move our nation off
dirty, 19th century, fuels that are making people sick. Coal, and
the soot, smog and other pollution that comes from it impacts Americans across
the country. We think that students can help reinvent the American economy by
pressuring our administrations to invest in clean, safe and reliable energy on
campuses from California to Connecticut” said Kim Teplitzky, Campuses
Beyond Coal Campaign Coordinator for the Sierra Club.
Over the next
four weeks students will be hosting flash mobs, 60’s dance parties, camp outs,
rallies, art builds, call-in days and more to call attention the public health
risk of depending on dirty energy in their campuses and communities. At the end of the month student leaders will
bring the stories and photos from these events to Washington, D.C.
to deliver to the Obama Administration demanding further action to protect
information visit wearepowershift.org/100actions