The following is a feature article for the Retriever Weekly
UMBC students involved in Powershift
A trip to Pittsburgh that left students inspired and motivated
ByShannon Williams Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A group of dedicated UMBC students packed their bags for a weekend and headed off to Pittsburgh, PA to help save the planet. These students were leaving for Powershift, an environmental conference held every two years that invites people from all over the country to learn more about improving the environment.
Powershift urges people to step out of their comfort zones and make the first move towards making a difference. It consists of multiple speakers, workshops, discussions and on the final day, a rally.
The UMBC students returned to campus more aware of the environmental issues the world is facing and even more determined to spread the word to other students.
"I realized how many things are against us in the fight for clean power, but it was really inspiring to see so many like-minded people gathering to try and make a change for ourselves and, really when you get down to it, for everyone in our world today," said Virginia Morgan, a sophomore anthropology and sociology double major.
"I was able to learn about issues in my own state, what I could do to help and in turn spread awareness to other students at UMBC,” said Gagan Singh senior English major.
Some of the environmental issues that Powershift addressed were climate change, the keystone XL pipeline and mountaintop removal.
But for this year's event, the main problem Powershift was concerned with was fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a way of extracting oil or gas that is harming the environment. The event was held in Pittsburgh specifically because fracking is being supported in this city.
On the final day of Powershift, a rally took place against fracking. It consisted of a mass march down the streets of Pittsburgh, while people held banners and protested in order to stop fracking from harming the earth further than it already has.
"The sense of rightness and belonging during that march was extremely powerful and exhilarating," said Sarah Bogle, a senior geography major.
UMBC students who were a part of Powershift had the opportunity to experience an event that impacted their lives and gave them even more motivation than ever to help the environment.
"My favorite part about the trip was being energized by a 13-year-old activist, with his 10-year-old brother, who told the crowd about their fight to protect the earth and followed it with a hip hop performance. They are called the Earth Guardians and I do not think I've ever been so inspired," said junior environmental science major Alexa White.
These students made a difference in one weekend, but it does not stop there. Many are continuing to share ways anyone can help with others, sharing all of the knowledge they gained as well as the memories they formed.