This past weekend was October break at Saint Mike's so we had Monday and Tuesday off. Our environmental club Green Up used this break to our advantage and went to Powershift which is a huge environmental conference in Pittsburgh, PA. It started Friday night so the 13 of us left at 5am on Friday morning. By after over ten hours of driving and many pit stops we finally made it the hostel we were staying at by 6:30 and got to the conference just in time. Over 6000 students and young leaders attended the conference. There were six workshops, some breakout sessions and highly keynote speakers and concerts.
It was great getting to bong with some of the Green Up members. There were six seniors, a junior, a sophomore and five first years so we had a decent mix of people. Everyone had a blast and we all learnt a lot. We made sure to go to different sessions so that we could all learn from each other after the conference ended. With about 20 sessions to choose from during each block this was easy to do. I went to some great sessions, my favorites being one on using media to advance your campaigns and one about the tar sands pipeline that is being proposed to be built though Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Just being surrounded by people who care about the environment was refreshing. There are many times when I feel that no one else really cares but seeing us all together really motivated me and gave me the energy I needed. The most valuable part of the conference came during the state breakout sessions. All the people who go to school in Vermont met in one room and shared the campaigns that each school is working on. We also created a Facebook group so that we can all know about events going on and support each other. We hope to meet once a month at different colleges to discuss our plans and have potlucks.
On Monday there was a rally against the use of fossil fuels and we marched around the downtown area. A coal company brought a boat out that was advertising the "benefits" of coal so we could tell that the companies are getting nervous which is a great feeling. This whole trip really helped everyone get motivated to make Green Up even more active than it is now and I can't wait to see what the rest of the semester brings.
|A campaign to stop the keystone pipeline|
|Bill McKibben inspiring the crowd!|
|The whole SMC crew|
|Some of the signs we made for the protest.|