McDaniel students join peers in nationwide call for environmental reform
Among the chants and cheers at this year’s “We Are Power Shift” gathering in Pittsburgh was the singular voice of 16 McDaniel students, united in message despite the diversity of their hometowns, majors and class year.
Students of a college that changes lives, they joined about 10,000 of their peers to make a difference – to seek solutions to environmental issues plaguing the nation and world. They learned strategies and tactics to help them be more compelling activists and were empowered by speakers who shared their passions.
First-year student Adrian Plaisance had a chance to hear Josh Fox, director of the “Gas Land,” the documentary that inspired Plaisance’s own environmental activism.
“We learned about ways our society can move past fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy,” said the Environmental Studies major from Nyack, N.Y. “Power shift helped to shape my view as an environmentalist and helped teach me how to be an environmental leader.”
Students at the Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh, Oct. 18-21, 2013, are (front row) Erica Cichetti ’16, Maria Englert ’14, Caroline Unger ’16, Kyle Kresge ’14, Meghan Johnson ’16 and (back row) David Whalen ’17, Olivia Gulledge ’16, Noelle Gorman ’16, Evan King ’15, Claire Lawson ’16, Bridget Harrison ’17, Adrian Plaisance ’17, James Porteous ’14, Amanda Fuhrmann ’15.
McDaniel’s contingent was organized by sophomore Caroline Unger from Park Ridge, Ill. As a Political Science major, Unger was thrilled to realize how climate justice intersects with the social and political issues that most interest her.
“We got a pretty large group of students to come as well from McDaniel, and many of them became aware of new ways to bring what they learned back to campus, through divestment campaigns, building student groups, and direct action,” Unger said.
The group went to Pittsburgh with the blessing and encouragement of Environmental Studies professor and department chair Mona Becker, who says Power Shift aims to energize and empower the youth of today who are concerned with the environmental issues facing our nation and the world.
“I hope that the students who attended the Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh are able to bring their energy and knowledge back to McDaniel to engage the campus community on what we can and should be doing at a local level to combat the environmental problems facing the world today,” Becker said.