BUFFALO, N.Y. – Student environmental activists from Western and Central New York are getting ready to teach, learn and discuss New York State's environmental future at Power Shift New York 2010 on the University at Buffalo North Campus on April 16-18.
Hosted by the UB Environmental Network, the event includes three days of tours, lectures, panels, workshops, and a downtown concert. It's part of the "Define Our Decade" campaign affiliated with the Energy Action Coalition, and is expected to be the largest student-organized environmental conference at UB.
Power Shift New York involves student environmental organizations from across the state, including SUNY Geneseo's Geneseo Environmental Organization; SUNY Fredonia's Fredonia Sustainability Committee. Alfred University's Green Alfred and Cornell University's Kyoto Now.
Organizers have confirmed more than 50 speakers for the conference, including NYS Senator Antoine Thompson, Walter Simpson, former director of UB Green, and Lois Gibbs, who is nationally known for her work with the Love Canal crisis in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Gibbs, renowned author, activist and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, will be speaking about her experience with environmental struggles and her current campaign to eliminate the toxic plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from schools.
Before Gibbs' speech at 11 a.m. on April 18 in Room 20, Knox Hall, organizers will set up a 25-foot-tall inflatable duck on Founders Plaza in an effort to raise awareness. "Betty the Be Safe Ducky" has been used across the country to represent the threat that PVC, commonly used in rubber duck bath toys, poses to public health and safety.
Danielle Peters, president of the UB Environmental Network and a lead organizer for the event, believes that Power Shift New York will provide valuable education and "capture the creativity of the things you can do with environmentalism."
"What people need to know is that this conference is not just for students who are active in the environment," Peters said, "but for anyone who wants to learn and improve their breadth of environmental knowledge."
"We want to learn about environmental issues, but we want to do something about the environmental issues that are going on," Peters said.
On Friday night, Power Shift NY ticketholders will have free admission to a concert at Wasteland on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, where Melissa Latimer, Revision and Paul's Grandfather will be performing.
In addition to UB EN, Power Shift NY is sponsored by the UB chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a student organization of engineers committed to using technology for environmentally-conscious projects. ESW will hold a session to demonstrate how they built their solar-powered smoothie cart, which they will use to distribute fruity refreshments this Earth Day, April 22.
Other UB sponsors include UB Green, Student Life, the Environmental Studies program, Parking and Transportation Services, the Office of Career Services and Campus Dining and Shops, which will hold a tour of their environmentally-friendly compost system and provide breakfast for attendees on Saturday and Sunday.
Registration will continue through April 18. Tickets for Power Shift NY cost $15, and can be purchased in advance through the SBI Ticket office at the UB Student Union on North Campus or online at www.powershiftny.org Additional information about Power Shift NY 2010 is available at the Web site as well.