Indiana University students showing off their "Score One for Clean Energy!" gear during a Hoosier basketball game last January.
Indiana University senior Lauren Kastner helped launch "Coal Free IU" four years ago when she was a freshman -- and she hasn't slowed down since.
"It was important to me to make my university reflect the values of my generation and our changing society," says the journalism and public affairs major. "I wanted to help change energy policy on campus not to be combative, but to make it a better place and a school that I can brag about."
Four years later, Lauren says her motivation is as strong as ever and that she hopes to graduate from IU with clean energy as her legacy.
Thursday and Friday of this week are another big step in this legacy that Lauren and her fellow Coal Free IU students are taking. The group is holding a massive call-in and email push to demand IU's Board of Trustees to transition the campus away from coal and toward clean energy.
"The IU Board of Trustees is convening Thursday and Friday to vote on the Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP), and this will decide IU's energy future for decades to come," Lauren explains. "While students agree with some of the recommendations in the IEMP such as the necessary efficiency upgrades, the plan does not go far enough to make a commitment to stop burning coal, nor does it include a plan for real renewables."
So far the call-in campaign has been huge. IU students are already reporting getting busy signals and voicemail because so many people are calling in. Kastner says she's very encouraged so far and can't wait to see the final tally.
"The point of this action is to show IU administrators that students aren't backing down and they cannot ignore our voices. Having students, faculty, community members, allies, and friends from across the country calling in Thursday and Friday shows the Board of Trustees that the entire nation is watching IU. Should IU decide to stop burning coal and look at real clean energy solutions, this will have a huge impact on similar decisions at our peer universities. This is everyone's fight."
As an IU alum myself, I am very inspired by the Coal Free IU students. I've visited them before and seen their amazing energy, and I'll be making a call myself.
We encourage you to make a call or send an email as well. Here is the information.
Call the offices of President Michael McRobbie and / or the Board of Trustees with this message:
"My name is _____ and I am a (student, faculty, community member, ally, friend, etc) and I support a coal-free future for IU. The Board of Trustees must commit to transition off of coal, include clean energy options(NOT natural gas) and increase campus efficiency efforts in the Integrated Energy Master Plan."
Board of Trustees: 1-812-855-3762 or email email@example.com
President Michael McRobbie: 1-812-855-4613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org