October is here! For us at Fossil Free UMD, this means cooler weather, midterm season, and our panel on fossil fuels. Last Thursday, October 23, we engaged the student body in a conversation with experts on the use of fossil fuels at UMD.
Fossil Free UMD is the leading campaign for climate action on campus, and we have been advocating to eliminate fossil fuel use at the University of Maryland since the campaign’s beginning last spring. This semester, Fossil Free UMD coordinators and volunteers have been raising awareness about the climate crisis and fighting for important local change: a transition away from fossil fuels at our school.
Our panel was a way to spread awareness to students and faculty and hear from people in sustainability, energy, and environmental professions about how this could be possible.
The speakers at this event were:
Bronte Payne, an Environment America employee and former member of Florida PIRG,
Mark Stewart, the sustainability manager at UMD’s Office of Sustainability,
and Tim Williamson, who has worked on renewable energy for the US State Department and additional green energy projects.
At this panel, we covered the state of energy use at UMD, current sustainability initiatives, and what will be possible in the future. Important topics such as carbon neutrality, reducing emissions, and offsetting emissions were discussed, as well as what is possible for UMD now and in the future when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Our speakers gave us valuable insight on these topics.
We are so thankful for the students that came out to support- we had many who have been working with us to advocate for environmental action in the past and many new faces. There were some great questions asked, all of which contributed to a meaningful discussion on fossil fuel use and better energy alternatives on campus and in our communities.
Aside from the panel, Fossil Free UMD is hard at work on several events. A few weeks ago, many of our members went to the Global Climate Strike in D.C. to show our support for increasing sustainability on a level beyond campus. We have also been tabling weekly and gathering petition signatures and letters from students. We have close to 500 signatures and aren’t slowing down any time soon! We also have been working with SGA’s Student Sustainability Committee, who co-sponsored our panel, to discuss creative and practical solutions to our energy problem. We know that there is a lot behind the scenes that goes into energy policy on campus, so we have been researching and contacting faculty that specialize in this area in order to come up with a strategic action plan.
We’re so excited to begin to see progress in our movement, and we would love for you to come volunteer with us! It’s easy to work at one of our tables or art builds. In fact, we host weekly campaign meetings on Thursdays at 5 pm in Jimenez 1103, and you’re always welcome to attend. We can’t wait to see you soon!