Sustainability Conference, Pittsburgh

During fall 2011, SMU students are participating in a conference sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in Pittsburgh.

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Catching the President’s eye

An update from Samuel, an SMU E-Representative and a sophomore mechanical engineering major:

“Stop the pipeline and the greed, give the people what they need!”

Protesting in Pittsburgh

Political activism is a new experience I had today along with the rest of my peers attending AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). Peaceful protest is a powerful action that reaches the community and authority figures. The student summit at AASHE peaked in a speech by Bill McKibben of 350.org who encouraged student political action. Student mobilization is a powerful catalyst to influence political leaders who create environmental policy.

Marching a mile through Pittsburgh yelling chants and being part of a motivated group of people gave meaning to what I have been learning at AASHE. After gathering a plethora of ideas from the sessions I attended, it felt great to act! Our group was successful today working with police who actually helped us safely place our group of 60-70 AASHE and Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition members along the path of President Obama’s motorcade.

Even though it was not an official part of AASHE, this experience taught us another important tool in supporting sustainability. News reporters, Pittsburghers, and the President, waving as he rode past, took notice of us. Hopefully our actions made some effect on the end of fossil fuel use in the United States if President Obama chooses not to approve the expansion of the Keystone Oil Pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

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