Clean Energy Champions in Michigan

This fall, the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition is working with students on campuses across the state to run a campaign centered around encouraging young people to vote for candidates and initiatives that will support clean energy. For those of you who don’t know, this past spring  NWF became the fiscal sponsor for the MSSC, helping to write a grant that provided the resources needed to hire a full time organizer and run this campaign. The MSSC is Michigan’s statewide network for young people interested in sustainability, and aims to facilitate communication and cooperation between these young people so that Michigan’s sustainability movement can flourish and have an impact on state and national policy.

We recently held events on the campuses of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan—as part of  the National Powervote Day of Action—to collect student pledges to vote for clean energy. We collected about 400 pledges statewide, and spread awareness of how corporate polluters are affecting national policy. The event coincided with the release of the NWF’s Student Guide on Corporate Oil, Gas and Coal Money Influences in U.S. Energy Policy. Thanks to all of our friends and organizers for putting in so much effort and hard work. Here is a blurb from Molly Black, our Student Coordinator running our Clean Energy Champion campaign at Michigan State:

“2012 Day of Action was a success with the help of my fellow Michigan State University students. Together with MSU Greenpeace, MSU Beyond Coal, and the members of the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition we collected more than 237 pledges! Through determination, collaboration, and teamwork we all went above and beyond our goal to collect 100 more pledges for MSU’s campus. Some students stood at bus stops, performed class raps, posted the online pledge on Facebook, or asked friends to sign on to be a clean energy champion.”

MSU students prepping fact sheets and candy for our action!

If you want to see for yourself how well we are doing, check out the leader-board. We currently have Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and Central Michigan University all in the top 10!

This day of action was a great opportunity for us to collect pledges and spread awareness about corporate polluters, but we aren’t stopping here. We will continue on our path to connecting thousands of students committed to voting for clean energy (we currently have 1,800), and make sure that Michigan’s youth are able to play a critical role in creating more clean energy for our state. Up next, we will be holding fun educational events on several campuses during the month of October to collect more pledges and educate our peers about why clean energy is good—and necessary—for us!

Do you have any good ideas for fun, creative events that also provide education? We are hoping to draw some students that might be unsure about how they feel about clean energy, but want to come learn more. Email me at starkee [ at] to share any creative ideas or best practices!

You can also support the movement by signing this petition to ask the moderator of the first presidential debate question the candidates about climate change! Don’t forget to share with your friends and networks.