Students plan lobbying trip to D.C.

Posted by Tegan O'neill

This April more than 10,000 youths will make their way to Washington D.C. to shake things up and make noise about important environmental issues at Power Shift 2011.

The Skidmore Power Shift coordinators, Anna Graves '14 and Annie Bruckner '11, hope to send about 60 students to this exciting convergence.

Students from all disciplines are encouraged to take part in the weekend-long conference from Apr. 15 to 18.

Students from all majors and all class years are encouraged to attend. The coordinators are looking to bring a good representation of the entire student body to the conference.

Power Shift is "boot camp for students to help them learn how to take initiative, whether that be on a personal, local or national level," said Rachel Chalat '12, the coordinator of fundraising.

According to the organization's website, "the last two Power Shifts were the largest convergences of young environmental and social justice activists in U.S. history."

Power Shift is a conference run by young activists for young activists.

While at Power Shift, the activists will attend workshops, listen to lecturers and learn about grassroots projects. After the first two days of conferencing, the third day will be spent lobbying Congress.

"At Power Shift you are actually given the tools to get up and do something," Chalat said.

The conference is an opportunity for students to partake in political action, network for internships and jobs and meet other youths from around the country with similar beliefs and concerns.

By participating in the event, Skidmore students who attend the conference will be able to bring back what they have learned and spread awareness throughout the rest of the school.

"The conference is really all about starting the conversation," Chalat said.

In 2009, about 50 students attended the conference and brought back with them the idea for a rain garden, which was then established near the Tang Museum.

The rain garden is just one way in which the knowledge gained at the Power Shift conference has benefited the community as a whole.

The kick-off interest meeting took place on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The first round of registration will be completed on Friday, Feb. 25.

The downpayment to attend the conference is $25.

Chalat and the other students organizing the event are currently working on grant and scholarship applications to defray the costs of going to the conference.

Chalat said that the cost will not exceed $50. This price includes transportation to and from the event and lodging.

The price of the trip could be lower depending on the amount of money awarded and funds raised.

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