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Students represent Appalachian at Powershift 2011

BOONE—A group of 90 Appalachian State University students will represent the university at Powershift 2011 April 15-18 in Washington, D.C.

Powershift is a national youth climate summit that was started in 2007 by the Energy Action Coalition, a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups that work together to form the clean energy and climate movement.  The goal of Powershift is to push the nation towards a green energy economy and away from unhealthy and less environmentally friendly energy sources.

Fifty-five of the Appalachian students will ride to Washington, D.C., in a biodiesel-fueled bus that is sponsored by Appalachian.  The rest of the students are carpooling.

Sarah Cox, senior sustainable development major and Appalachian’s Powershift coordinator, said the students hope to “obtain more knowledge of sustainability while learning how to put everything into action.  Perhaps our greatest goal is to bring back sustainability knowledge and energy to Appalachian, and to implement progressive ideas that we learn in D.C.”

Events at the conference include keynote speakers Al Gore and Van Jones, a globally-recognized human rights and clean energy activist; films that discuss current environmental issues; workshops; and panel discussions with leaders of the clean energy movement.  Students will also get a chance to meet with local elected officials to lobby for a clean energy economy.

“This is a great opportunity for students to learn leadership skills, how the political system works and how grassroots movements get started,” said Dr. Sandra Lubarsky, director of Appalachian’s sustainable development program.

Powershift 2011 is the third Powershift conference and Appalachian students have attended each one.  For more information, contact Cox at or visit