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Focus the Nation: a National Campaign on Solutions to Global Warming
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by Nate Askins, WVU SSC | 2008

A national campaign on solutions to Global Warming conducts a "teach-in" at West Virginia University

On January 31 the West Virginia University Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) held a day long “teach-in” as part of the National Focus the Nation Campaign. Focus the Nation was an event designed to draw students and faculty, and the nation, into discussion about solutions to Global Warming and other social issues.

The teach-in at West Virginia University featured three keynote speakers; Nathan Askins, member of the WVU Sierra Student Coalition; Ron Justice, Mayor of Morgantown and Director of Student Organizations at WVU; and Dr. Steve Kite, President of the WVU Faculty Senate. The bulk of the program consisted of six panels. The panel topics were “Forming Effective Policy” which featured a presentation on transportation issues and the discovery of Global Warming, “Economics: Rethinking the Bottom Line” which featured presentations on breaking our addiction to carbon, conservation vs. renewable energy, and comparing Carbon Markets with Carbon Taxes, “The Science Behind the Headlines” which featured presentations on biogeochemical cycles, biofuels, and carbon sequestration, “Focus on Health: It’s Personal” with presentations on health effects of Global Warming, health effects of coal mining, and a particularly frightening presentation on the current fate of our species, “Past and Present: Cultural Perspectives” which featured a presentation on indigenous cultures’ viewpoint, and lastly, “Interfaith Dialogue: Putting Faith into Action” which featured representatives from Judaism, Islam and Christianity discussing cooperation among the religions.
A special presentation was given by Erica Sladzky representing the WVU Biodiesel club
In addition, a special presentation was given by Erica Sladzky representing the WVU Biodiesel club.

The Sierra Student Coalition put on this event to build power and raise awareness about global warming. In addition, they wanted to raise awareness of their goals of persuading the administration to accept their challenges of 1) reducing emissions 30% by 2015, 2) implementing sustainability curriculum into the freshman orientation class, 3) constructing an on-campus renewable energy source by 2009, 4) reaching 20% biodiesel usage across the university fleet and 5) recycling 40% of hard waste produced.

Upcoming SSCActivities
The Sierra Student Coalition is continuing to stay active. Currently they are preparing for their next meeting with the WVU administration on March 5 as well as facilitating WVU’s participation in the National Campus Energy Challenge.

In addition, they are organizing a street team dubbed the “Justice League” that is talking with area business owners in the hopes of encouraging them to adopt climate friendly practices. Set for mid-March, the WVU SSC will be hosting a “Toxic Tour” of Morgantown; in which, they will be taking a group of students to various “toxic” locations throughout Morgantown to raise awareness of pollutants. On April 6 the SSC will host their yearly “Sierra Swing” at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown. The SSC has many other events in the works; stay tuned.

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