Four Butte College students are joining thousands of other young people from across the country to mobilize, network, learn, teach, make a statement and lobby congress to make some real progress on global warming.
On February 27, the students, along with an estimated 10,000, will converge on Washington, D.C. for Power Shift '09-- a national culmination of the efforts of students acting locally to make a difference globally.
"The whole intent of Power Shift is to speak to the new administration within its first 100 days with the goal of holding elected officials accountable for rebuilding our economy and reclaiming our future through comprehensive and immediate action on climate and clean energy policy," said Kelly Munson, Butte College's Student Activities & Associated Students Advisor.
Munson will be accompanying the four students - Chuck Rogers, Dominique Piccinino, Robbie Reeves and Sean Brown, all of whom participated last semester at the college in Power Vote, a national organized effort to register people to vote, get people to pledge they would vote and to educate them on issues concerning energy efficiency, climate change and the environment so that they would be educated voters when they got to the polls, according to Brown.
Power Shift '09 brings together many of the thousands of students who participated in Power Vote, as well as others, together to learn, network and lobby their congressional leaders.
"Our goal is to engage young people, like myself, in the community and across the country to participate in change. Power Shift '09 brings many of us who are working toward changing the future now together at a national event to make plans and to inspire one another," said Brown. "I am very excited about this trip."
The students' and Munson's trip to Washington and participation in Power Shift '09 is being paid for from funds the college won in the National Wildlife Federation's Chill Out Contest for Global Warming and through a grant from the Butte College Associated Students.
"I believe this trip will change the lives of the four students who are going. The opportunity to participate in a national shift in our energy policy and to know they had a part in that will be something they'll remember for the rest of their lives," said Munson. "It will solidify their commitment as engaged citizens."
During the four day event, the participants will attend a conference featuring such notable speakers as Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House; Congressman Ed Markey who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee; and Van Jones, founding president of Green for All, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress and a TIME Magazine 2008 Environmental Hero.
Additionally the students will have the opportunity to attend panel discussions on topics such as Greening Your School - Endowment and Administration Policies; the Role of Civil Disobedience in the Climate Movement; and The Student Movement in Climate Change - Organizing on Campus In an Inclusive Way. Workshops will also be open to Power Shift '09 participants featuring training in corporate accountability, environmental justice, green careers and effective lobbying.
The event will also include a Green Jobs Career Fair and on the last day, March 2, Power Shift '09 participants, including the students from Butte College will have scheduled meetings with their congressional representatives to personally lobby for responsible and fast legislative action regarding the climate and the economy.
"I work on these issues in my free time and I'm very passionate about them," said Brown. "This is exciting to me because it's not often that you get to speak directly to your elected officials," said Brown. "When we return we will make presentations to classes and use the training we learned at Power Shift '09 to be more effective on our campus. We will also be able to demonstrate to other young people that change is not impossible and that we can and do make a difference."