Students to attend Power Shift '09

At the end of the month, students from Geneseo and other colleges across country will convene in Washington, D.C. to participate in Power Shift '09, a massive demonstration and convention.

According to the Power Shift Web site, they hope "to hold our elected officials accountable for rebuilding our economy and reclaiming our future through bold climate and clean energy policy."

From Feb. 27 to March 2, college students will come together in solidarity over one cause, that senior Nolan Quinn summarized: "We're trying to impress upon the new administration and all of our elected officials that dealing with climate change is a priority for us and it should be for them."

Students will be able to

advocate and demonstrate, as well as participate in workshops and listen to various speakers on the subject of climate and energy policy.

This year, members of Geneseo Environmental Organization arranged participation. "I went in '07 and we had nine people," said junior Adam Kroopnick. "This year, we have more than 50 students from every major you can think of. It reflects GEO's conscious effort to engage the greater Geneseo community because the issue of climate change is too broad and affects too many different causes and groups of people to be limited to just the environmental group."

First time attendee junior Lwam Tecleab echoed Kroopnick's sense of pride, saying that Geneseo's involvement in such an event demonstrates that the campus is "willing to grow exponentially."

"The student body is getting involved in so many things so fast," said Tecleab. "It says a lot about diversity on our campus, and I'm not just talking about visual diversity."

Since Power Shift is student-run, responsibilities such as "publicizing and finding hotels, transportation in D.C. and funding" fell on the members of GEO, according to Quinn. With overwhelming student effort across the country, Kroopnick said "Power Shift 2009 is expected to be the largest student-run conference on climate in national history."

"I've never been to such a huge convention," said Tecleab. "It'll be great to educate myself about what's affecting our environment. I may think I know what's going on, but I could just be at the tip of the iceberg."

Kroopnick said he is glad to hear excitement. "Power Shift does a great job of giving a much larger vision of the individual issues [within the issue of global climate change]," he said. "The hope is that each student can find at least one issue that really motivates them."