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Student Campaign Kicks Off “Fossil Fools Day”

Across the country yesterday, college students rallied for clean energy as part of a National Day of Action. The students demanded that college administrators bring clean, renewable energy to campuses. Demonstrations and actions were taken at 125 schools, marking the beginning of a highly coordinated student movement for clean energy. Yesterday’s events came as the U.S. Congress is preparing to take up an Energy Bill widely viewed as continuing a policy of dependence on fossil fuels.

Cambridge, Massachusetts – April 2, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “There is a new generation of student activism sweeping the nation today, and a key part is a responsible energy future that turns against the fossil fuel policies of the past,” said Jack Dafoe, Yale University senior and CT Climate Campaign Director, speaking yesterday at the event. “We are sending a strong message that young people in this nation have the power to make change,” Dafoe said. “Both the school administration and the federal government should listen.” Students at Western Washington University are running a massive education initiative to support a $19 fee increase to purchase clean energy on campus. Students at University of the South at Sewanee will propose a resolution to the Student Assembly urging the University to purchase 15% of its total use in renewable energy. At the University of Tennessee, students will be handing out buttons and gas masks poking fun at Tennessee’s heavy reliance on the burning of fossil fuels. While, students’ demands at each school may vary, but the message is the same: “As the Whitehouse fails to produce a sound energy policy, communities and schools must take the lead in forging the path to a clean energy future,” said Rachel Gramig, University of Tennessee junior. Following student-led initiatives, Cornell University, Lewis and Clark College, and the entire University of California system have each recently pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet or exceed the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. The UC system passed a groundbreaking policy that mandates a 10 MW installment of renewable energy. Nationwide, more than 40 Higher Education Institutions are currently purchasing over 107,809 MWh of wind energy. “Clean energy has become a very hot issue on college campuses,” said Billy Parish, Director of The Climate Campaign, a northeast regional coalition of campus environmental groups. “As more of these campuses link up and coordinate their activities, this movement will be able to affect serious change both on and off college campuses. This is just the beginning.”