Thursday, September 23, 2010

Washington University Alums Get Award From Sierra Club

Pretty cool:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Three current Green Corps organizers - Kady McFadden, Todd Zimmer, and Jennifer Marienau - are among a group of students from Washington University in St. Louis selected to receive a 2010 national award from the Sierra Club.

Prior to joining Green Corps this August, the three were leaders of the Washington University Climate Justice Alliance. They have been selected to receive the club’s Joseph Barbosa Award, which honors club members under the age of 30 who have a demonstrated record of service to the environment.

The group is being recognized for their efforts to make their fellow students – and the general public – aware of the hidden costs of “clean coal.” In April 2010, the students organized a nationally recognized “Great Coal Debate” that featured Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, and Fred Palmer, vice president of public relations for Peabody Energy. The debate was moderated by Bryan Walsh, environmental correspondent for TIME magazine.

Six members of the group shared their organizing efforts at a June 2010 conference sponsored by the Sierra Student Coalition.

“I have worked with hundreds of students in the U.S. youth climate movement, and these students are some of the strongest, most strategic young people that this movement has ever seen,” said Lindsey Berger, Midwest regional organizer for the Sierra Student Coalition. “They have shown more dedication, more leadership and more results in the short period I have known them than some grassroots organizers do in years of work.”

The award will be presented Sept. 25 during the Sierra Club’s Annual Dinner in San Francisco. It comes with a $500 prize that the students will use to help fund a four-day symposium they are organizing titled “Global Energy Future” that will be held at Washington University in October.
The Great Coal Debate, put on last year, was probably the best organized student activist event I've ever seen. I don't know how they possibly could have done a better job making a powerful case against the continued use of coal to a huge audience. Todd and Jennifer were friends of mine, and it's bittersweet to hear about them kicking butt in other parts of the country rather than in St. Louis, but the good news is that there's still an amazing group of environmental activists at Washington University who have great things planned for this year.

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