MSU is a research university whose administrators talk about going green, so it would make sense for the administration to embrace the goals of MSU Beyond Coal and lead the charge toward clean energy. Unfortunately, the administration is dragging its feet with regards to clean energy.
By being eminently reasonable, intelligent, tenacious — but not oppressively so — and unwilling to give the administration a reason to ignore or belittle them, MSU Beyond Coal is taking the right approach to student activism. As such, the Editorial Board supports MSU Beyond Coal as a coalition of students working toward a transition to clean energy at MSU, but not necessarily its precise plan to do that.
In this day and age, given what’s known about climate change, it’s foolish to take a stand against clean energy.
Burning coal has negative effects on the environment and the health of individuals in close proximity to coal plants, and there definitely are actions administrative officials can take to make this campus greener.
However, we’re unsure of the administration’s willingness and ability to accommodate MSU Beyond Coal’s proposals.
Despite MSU Beyond Coal’s well-reasoned arguments, there still are concerns about the reality of transitioning MSU off of coal energy.
Sure, the cost of implementing energy independence might be low, but in the context of dwindling public funding for universities, it seems less and less likely that the administration will have the funds to do so. Perhaps by initiating some preliminary fundraising for its plan, MSU Beyond Coal could show the administration that its proposal is achievable and cost-effective for the university.
MSU Beyond Coal is understandably displeased with the lack of aggressiveness with which the administration has tackled this issue.
The apathy from the administrative side of the Energy Transition Steering Committee — a committee created to work with MSU Beyond Coal and MSU Greenpeace to find a plan that transitions MSU off coal energy — displays a lack of administrative priority in addressing this issue.
Although it’s doubtful the administration is against clean energy, they certainly haven’t done enough to make this campus “greener.” It’s good that the administration has a student group in place pushing clean energy to the forefront.
Without MSU Beyond Coal’s contributions and demands, perhaps the administration would not have taken the few small steps toward clean energy that they have.
When MSU Beyond Coal presents its more aggressive timeline to the MSU Board of Trustees in January, it should be taken seriously.
Clean energy is something the administration certainly can work toward that will have an impact on the future of the university, and they shouldn’t waste the opportunity to do so.