It kicked-off on the evening of Friday September 28, with the Mayor Singh of East Lansing calling for students to “go out and grab the power” and keep the heat on politicians at the local level. Omeyele Sowore, a longtime oil-activist from Nigeria, was the keynote speaker. He brought an inspirational message of the power that we, as students and future leaders, have to make change in our campuses and communities.
In the third Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition Summit, 140 students from 13 campuses converged on East Lansing to join in the dialogue and actions to create a sustainable future in Michigan. The summit was the largest student-organized sustainability and climate-action gathering to happen in Michigan.
On September 30th we translated words into action, spending the day in the communities of Lansing and East Lansing. We broke into groups to build community gardens, rain water collections systems, raised bed planter boxes, and work on an organic farm. Following our get-your-hands-dirty-for- sustainability morning, we were treated with a conversation with Guster guitarist and singer Adam Gardner. Adam is behind the pop-music tour greening organization, Reverb.
The energy generated at our Fall Summit spilled over into our organizing for Power Shift 2007, the first ever national climate change conference organized for youth by youth. Michigan brought 300 students - 5 bus loads and a few vans full - to Power Shift in Washington DC. This was more than any state other than Maryland, Virginia, and New York. On Saturday November 3, the first full day of Power Shift 2007, as Spartans and Wolverines clashed on the football field, thirty-eight Wolverines, sixty Spartans, and 200 more Michiganders sat down together to outline the steps for creating a power shift in Michigan. On March 19, we will bring our vision of an ecologically sound, socially just, and economically secure Michigan to the halls of the state congress. In conjunction with the grass roots organizing we do in our home communities, leveraging the passage in the state congress of a 25% by 2025 Renewable Energy Standard, Feed-in tariff laws, stringent efficiency targets, and green jobs will catalyze the Michigan’s overdo transition to sustainability.
Members of the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition have met with Governor Jennifer Granholm; 130 of us lobbied Congressman John Dingell, Senator Debbie Stabenaw, and Senator Carl Levin. At a leadership retreat I organized for the first week of January, we will outline our long term plan, develop anti-oppression practices, and expand our leadership capacity. As a 100% student organized coalition, we are empowering the leaders of tomorrow and making real change in our communities.