At UNC-Wilmington, two days after Power Shift 2011, students acted out a mock oil spill cleanup in “hazmat” suits for an offshore drilling protest at Wrightsville Beach. We also made over 100 phone calls on that same day into our local Congressman’s office to ban offshore drilling and push for wind energy off North Carolina’s coast.
But the energy and action in Wilmington, NC didn’t stop there. This summer, students in UNCW ECO are creating a Green Fee proposal, leading the grassroots movement in the Stop Titan campaign, interning with Greenpeace and Oceana, taking part in the March on Blair Mountain, organizing a statewide retreat for youth environmental leaders and a Hands Across the Sand event, and recruiting 100’s of new freshmen this summer to support or lead campaigns next Fall.
The movement building sessions were key for our group of 60 students from UNCW ECO. New teams and lasting relationships were formed at Power Shift 2011, and our group is more cohesive than ever before. Students who weren’t that involved before Power Shift are now active in core leadership teams and are already starting new initiatives on campus and in our community. Emma Wicker, the newly elected President of ECO said,
“One night, a few days after Power Shift, I walked outside the library and saw a group of students training each other in preparation for our offshore drilling call-in day. It was amazing to see students who weren’t that active before Power Shift really stepping it up and being proactive in learning the skills they need to be effective activists. I was so proud of them and am excited to see what the new leaders in ECO will do this Fall.”
Students in ECO are also involved in our newly formed state network, the NC Student Energy Network (NCSEN). The NCSEN is holding a retreat in August before school starts for students across the state to begin collaborating on energy and food sustainability issues in North Carolina, while having fun getting to know each other, so we can have a powerful network that organizes effective, united state-wide actions.