Crossposted from GreenTheBlock.NetWhere better to launch our participation in the Campus Consciousness Tour with Drake than in the heart of Pennsylvania, State College. Home of Penn State, they call it happy valley around here, and it’s easy to see why. The excitement on campus was palpable. After months of preparation, it felt great to step off the bus and meet the students we’ll be working with in Penn State. Kirrin Kennedy is an organizer with the League of Young Voters on Penn State campus. Once she heard about the opportunity to join Green The Block and use the momentum of the Drake tour to build a stronger movement on her campus, she jumped to action. She immediately pulled together a broad range of groups on campus: the NAACP, IDEAS (a student environmental group), and members of the student government. They joined Hip Hop Caucus president Rev. Lennox Yearwood for a panel to discuss how they can create change on the Penn State campus, and how their decisions affect State college, Pennsylvania, and ultimately the country.
“Penn State is the heart of PA, it is the literal center of the state and the leadership developed here will be leading this state for years to come,” Reverend Yearwood said at the panel. “So the decisions you make and the movement you build here decides the direction Pennsylvania will go in regards to the environment and jobs. Pennsylvania cannot and will not make the changes necessary for our environment and our people without your leadership!”The state students are gladly taking up this strong call to action! With the help of our student volunteers, over 400 students pledged to take action to go green on Earth Day! Not bad for an afternoon’s work. With over 40,000 students, Penn State is one of the largest colleges in the country. That students here are engaged and taking action on climate change can only mean great things for Pennsylvania, and the nation.
After a great gathering of students we headed to the massive Bryce Jordan Arena to hear Drake croon. The doors opened and the students sprinted, jumped, and ran to… The Green The Block booth!After State College, we made a stop in Boston (which you’ll hear about in a blog coming soon), and then were back to PA for a stop at Lock Haven University (student body: 5,000).
Our volunteers for the night were typical of Lock Haven students, all of them hailed from different parts of Pennsylvania, and all of them were excited for the opportunity to talk to their peers about opportunities in the green economy. As Laura McLaughlin said, “We need green jobs in PA, we are trying to get a wind farm here, but not enough people know about it and why it’s important.” We couldn’t have asked for a better group of volunteers and they engaged the campus in a real dialogue about why they think sustainability is important.
From having people take the Earth Day on Every Block Pledge, to educating their fellow students about green energy, the Lock Haven girls took their responsibility seriously! In just over an hour they got almost 600 of their fellow students to take the Earth Day on Every Block Pledge, not bad for a school of 5,000!We now have a couple days off in Michigan and then back too it! The first week on the tour has been an energizing whirlwind. Stay tuned here for more updates.