On Nov. 30, Earthlust will be holding a rally on Parrish Beach as both a celebration of the administration’s agreement to renew its contract with wind power companies and an effort to convince the administration to increase the percentage of energy bought from these companies. Presently, Swarthmore purchases enough wind power to provide 8.5 percent of the energy needs on campus, as ensured by the contract renewal. Earthlust is hoping increase this percentage to 35 percent for the 2007-2008 budget.
Earthlust has been campaigning for wind power and its increased usage here at Swarthmore since 1997. Wind power is widely seen as the leading alternative to fossil fuels. It is reliable, efficient and relatively inexpensive when compared to other renewable energy options.
The President’s senior staff will discuss the budget over Winter Break. That students will not be on campus during that discussion has led Earthlust to time this rally in order to raise as much support for wind power as possible prior to this decision. Rachel Ackoff ’07, a leading member of Earthlust, said, “It is our last opportunity to show our support before the decision.”
The rally will feature Professor of Religion Mark Wallace, Ethan Deyle ’08 and a third speaker to be announced. Students will not be the only people in attendance, according to Ackoff. “We hope to bring together students, faculty, staff, Swarthmore community members and students from other campuses,” she said.
The large “scroll” petition for wind power, with the signatures of many Swatties obtained by Earthlust members tabling at Sharples, will also be on display.
The overall response from the administration regarding wind power has been positive, but Earthlust members emphasize the importance of voicing student opinion. Elizabeth Crampton ’09, coordinator for the group, said, “We’re not at a school where we have to convince [the administration] that there is global warming. But it’s just one of the concerns for the administration. We have to show them it should be a main priority.”
Vice President Maurice Eldridge said he encourages such efforts. “I think raising awareness on campus is a good idea,” Eldridge said. “It’s the basis for changing habits “¦ I do believe that as a society we will have to move toward more sustainability and away from fossil fuels.” Eldridge uses wind power for his own household.
Jennie Hatch ’10, a member of Earthlust, said that she is looking forward to the rally and emphasized its importance in the group’s efforts to increase the presence of wind power at Swarthmore. “It’ll mean more if people come and show their support. It’s also a good way to get people involved who haven’t had a chance to be involved with Earthlust’s efforts.”
The rally will start at 4 p.m.
By Kaitlyn Kyi
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