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12,000 Strong for a Greener America

Power Shift '09Young people assembled by the thousands this weekend in Washington, D.C.  The impetus: Power Shift 2009, a massive convention to address the pressing issue of climate change.

The student leaders demanded that Congress and the President enact bold legislation to reduce carbon emissions, create millions of green jobs, and begin powering America with clean, renewable energy.

In other words, thousands of liberal-minded college students converged on the Washington Convention Center to talk about the environment.  It rocked!

Festivities ran from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, and events included a green career fair, legislative briefings, activist training, and scores of panels, discussions, and seminars.  Students took action on Monday and lobbied their respective representatives, before marching on Capitol Hill and rallying for clean energy.

What went down?

View from the TopThroughout the conference, students acquired knowledge on community organizing, politics and policy, new media, green jobs, effective campaigns, corporate relations, and campus activism, just to name a few topics.  Other events included caucus meetings, film screenings, and rousing addresses by renowned keynote speakers.

Highlights:

  1. A delightful abundance of hemp and dreadlocks
  2. A smashing musical performance by The Roots, followed by an impromptu student dash to the White House
  3. Navigating the D.C. metro system
  4. Hanging and networking with Power Shifters back at the hotel from around the country
  5. Catching whiffs of “herbal aromas” drifting through the hotel hallways
  6. Bashing those greenwashed Chevron advertisements
  7. Truly getting inspired to take action and protect the environment
  8. Watching irony unfold as snow interrupted the rally against global warming

The top five attending schools were the University of Vermont, Middlebury College, Connecticut College, University of Maryland-College Park, and Oberlin College, all contributing between one and two hundred students each.  Penn State ranked as the 15th largest contributor, as 61 Penn Staters flocked to Power Shift over the weekend.

What does this mean for America?  Young people are sick of the filthy abuse of our planet.  We’re ready for a fresh, clean start: fossil fuels not included.  Activism still lives, and Power Shift proves it.  Attendees of the convention emerged as empowered leaders, ready to improve their respective campuses before expanding their efforts to the outside world.

Purify the Earth; purify ourselves.

America's Largest Student Activist Network Unknown Student on Capitol Hill

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