Students rally behind new MSU energy transition steering committee

Students and organizers with the Sierra Student Coalition'’s MSU Beyond Coal campaign have been focused on encouraging Michigan State University to discontinue the use of coal for campus energy use since last January.

A year later, they are starting to see some exciting forward movement.

In addition to a recent resolution passed by the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) to end the use of coal as an energy source on campus, and instead opt for renewable energy, the university has also agreed to organize a steering committee that will work to create an energy transition plan for campus.

"We will have a student representative on the committee, so that’s really exciting," says MSU Beyond Coal Field Organizer Michaela Howard. "Coal is a huge problem for a lot of reasons, from cradle to grave. It’s a very destructive public health issue."

In 2009, MSU used 222,819 tons of coal for campus operations. The goal of MSU Beyond Coal is to move that number to zero. MSU's Assistant Director for Campus Sustainability Jennifer Battle says it'a all a work in progress.

"For the last couple of years we’ve been moving toward using more renewable energy sources on campus, and this is the next natural step," she says. "We want to create a formal plan to set goals for the University and a strategy for how we want to get there, so as soon as the technology is developed we can be a position to implement it."

According to Howard, the steering committee should begin to meet some time in the next month. While this and the ASMSU resolution as positive steps, she says there’s still much work to be done by MSU Beyond Coal, continuing to show student support for the transition away from coal.

Source: Michaela Howard, Sierra Student Coalition-MSU Beyond Coal

Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor
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