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Students lobby for clean energy during Power Shift '09

March 20, 2009

Seven students from the Loyola University Community Action Program, along with staff adviser Josh Daly, recently attended Power Shift ’09, an environmental conference in Washington, D.C., devoted to holding elected officials accountable for climate and clean energy policy. The conference, held Feb. 27-March 2, drew more than 12,000 participants from all 50 states and from around the world.

Power Shift ’09 featured panel discussions, workshops, an environmental career fair and guest speakers, including New Orleanian Lisa Perez Jackson, newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Other speakers included Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Van Jones, founding president of Green For All and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. Louisiana participants assembled to form Youth Alliance Louisiana League, a network of students interested in environmental change.

During the trip, the group lobbied Congress and met with Louisiana Rep. Joseph A. Cao’s legislative assistant Monica Sanders. They urged Congress to pass legislation that cuts carbon emissions, creates green jobs, encourages renewable energy use and supports global cooperation to abate the effects of climate change. The group also participated in a protest against coal.

“You have to sort of practice how to hold a lobbying meeting: how to get across what you need to get across, try to ask questions in a straight-forward way and propose the things you’re asking for and get better responses from the congressperson or legislative aid or assistant,” said Daly. “Seeing students come away excited, come away with ideas, come away with strategies and new initiatives, was really satisfying and really successful.”

Funding for the trip was provided by Loyola’s Office of Mission and Ministry and the Center for Environmental Communications.

Article contributed by Allison Sickle.

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