Yesterday afternoon, about 60 people danced at the plaza of the Administration Building. Although the dancers began their flash mob on a positive note, the performance took a serious turn when participants put on surgical masks and held up signs with statistics about the danger of coal plants.
Members of MSU Beyond Coal campaign and MSU Greenpeace teamed up to organize a flash mob and rally protesting the T.B. Simon Power Plant, the largest coal plant on a college campus according to the groups. The students’ aimed to bring attention to the dangers of coal as an energy source.
“We want to educate people and tell them about where they get their energy on campus,” said supply chain management junior Eric Price, media coordinator of MSU Beyond Coal campaign.
“Many people don’t really know … they get their energy from one of the most destructive nonrenewable energy sources in the world.”
Price said to bring attention to the issue in a unique way, the groups decided it would be best to begin the protest with a flash mob. Students danced to songs with pre-choreographed dance moves: “Cha Cha Slide,” “Jump Around” and “Cupid Shuffle.”
“We chose a flash mob because it is a good way to get a lot of people involved in something that will deliver our message,” history, philosophy, and sociology of science sophomore Jordan Lindsay, a member of MSU Greenpeace said. “Flash mobs are usually happy, fun things, but it was interrupted by a serious message.”
Toward the end of the performance, English senior Talya Tavor, MSU Beyond Coal president, shouted for the music to be stopped and read a slam poem about energy.
After Tavor spoke, Michigan Campaign Director of Clean Water Action Nick Clark; assistant professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Research Studies Robbie Richardson; and senior consultant of 5 Lakes Energy and former Mayor of East Lansing Douglas Jester spoke in front of the Administration Building.
Once they finished, students called MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and members of the MSU Board of Trustees, leaving messages urging them to retire the coal plant and move to 100 percent clean energy.
“We cannot stand to see our public health being ignored,” Tavor said in a voicemail to Simon.
Tavor said she has talked to Simon and members of the MSU Board of Trustees in the past, but no action has been taken to close the coal plant.
“They say this isn’t something (the university) is going to do right now,” Tavor said.
Jennifer Battle, assistant director of campus sustainability, said in a past interview changes will need to be made, but the technology is not yet sufficient to meet MSU’s needs.
But Tavor said both MSU Beyond Coal Campaign and MSU Greenpeace said they are not giving up on the cause any time soon.
“We’re ready to move off of coal,” Tavor said. “We want 100 percent renewable energy.”