WSES attends annual Power Shift conference in Washington D.C.


Senior Spanish major Zachary Mason sat in a workshop in Cleveland, listening to an entrepreneur tell his story about creating a solar panel manufacturing company.

The entrepreneur started his successful company based solely from information he learned from a Google search. Inspired by his story, Mason said he felt Webster had no limits on what it could do for the environment.

Mason was one of 12 members of Webster Students for Environmental Sustainability (WSES) who attended Midwest Power Shift (MPS) in Cleveland on Oct 21-23. MPS is part of a national conference that takes place every other year in Washington, D.C., where young people from across the country meet to discuss and learn about environmental issues and how to solve them.

MPS coincided with a Fall 2011 Delegates Agenda presentation subject and the topic that WSES is trying to push into effect—100 percent renewable energy on campus by 2030.
“We need 100 percent clean energy because we have the technology,” Mason said. “We can get there, we just have to start. That’s all we’re asking is for them to start.”

MPS hosted workshops and training sessions, which helped WSES members develop ideas for how to make Webster students more aware of environmental issues.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, seven members, including Mason and Justin Raymundo, held a flash-mob on campus to tell students about the dangers of coal energy. As they walked from the University Center to Sverdrup to Marlettos, they sang a song Mason wrote and passed out fliers to students.

In addition to the flash-mob, WSES encouraged students to write “No More Coal” on the Webster Facebook page and President Stroble’s Twitter page before the Delegate’s Agenda Response on Nov 3.

“We just wanted to reaffirm to the administration that we are still committed to this campaign and that the student body is committed to the campaign,” Mason said.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Webster Facebook page had over 90 “No More Coal” comments.

“If we do not shut down coal plants, stop coal emissions, by 2030, we’re done. Game over,” WSES vice president Kris Parsons said. “That’s a big goal for us.”

Jeff Wilhite, a junior who is new to WSES, also attended MPS. He said before the conference, he only knew about things like recycling and global warming. Wilhite said he has since learned about many other issues that can be brought back to campus.

“I really enjoyed the spirit of the group,” Wilhite said. “They were all really dedicated and it made me feel more dedicated. I think that’s something that is really applicable to Webster — getting involved here and getting other people involved.”

After MPS, Parsons feels WSES has the encouragement and knowledge to get Webster more active in environmental issues on campus.

“Power Shift is definitely an inspiring and rejuvenating event,” Parsons said. “There’s always new ideas and there’s always that connection that you make. When you’re in a room with 500 people from the Midwest who are all on your side, that’s exciting. It’s things like Power Shift that allow us to feel that, and to find each other.”

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