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Students Attend Power Shift ’09

Students Attend Power Shift ’09

3347150363_eb80115b94Eleven environmentally conscious TCNJ students traveled to Washington, DC earlier this year to participate in Power Shift ’09, a conference organized by the Energy Action Coalition to mobilize young people concerned about climate change and interested in advocating for clean energy policy.

“Although I have always been interested (in) the environment, this conference just heightened my concerns about the future health of our planet,” said Julia Flagg ’11, who attended the conference for the first time this year. “Sometimes the issue of climate change can be very daunting because it is such a monumental and scary issue, but this conference made me see that individuals can make a difference and that if we all work together, we can accomplish a lot.”

According to, 12,000 young people attended the conference, which was held from February 27 to March 2, “to hold our elected officials accountable for rebuilding our economy and reclaiming our future through bold climate and clean energy policy.”

Flagg, who is secretary of TCNJ’s environmental organization Water Watch, said Water Watch President Meagan Terry ’09 attended in 2007 and encouraged members of Water Watch to go this year. Most of the TCNJ students who attended are members of the organization, while others heard about it through word of mouth, Flagg said.

The TCNJ group that attended consisted of “students who had an interest in the environment and wanted to learn what they, as students, could do to be a part of the movement for solutions to climate change,” Flagg said.

Flagg said her favorite event at the conference was a panel on agribusiness. “I learned a lot about the American food system and how unsustainable it is. I learned that the meat production industry is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions—even more than the transportation industry,” Flagg said.

Guest speakers at the conference included Ralph Nader, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, author Bill McKibben, and Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency. “We had an excellent opportunity to network with students from other New Jersey colleges and universities who are part of this ‘green’ movement,” Flagg said.

The students plan to apply what they learned at the conference on the TCNJ campus by continuing to educate the campus about climate change issues through Water Watch. In April, Water Watch students organized the “Global Citizens Climate Change and Water Film Festival” and co-sponsored “Music for the Environment.”

Some of the TCNJ Students who attended PowerShift ’09 (clockwise from top left): Jenna Murry ’11, Meagan Terry ’09, Nora Wentworth ’09, Lena Feldman ’11, Mike Strom ’09, Kelly Hoffman ’12, Julia Flagg ’11, Anya Saretzky ’11, Jillian Stark ’11, Shaun Field ’12

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