Students gather outside McFall Center on Thursday to protest for more use of clean energy on campus

Senior Reporter and Senior Reporter

Despite freezing temperatures and snow flurries, more than 40 students gathered outside McFall Center on Thursday morning before marching into the office of President Mary Ellen Mazey.

The Environmental Action Group, which has been working all semester to encourage the University to switch to 100 percent clean energy, hosted the “Rally for Our Future” event to try to achieve their goal.

Some members of the group met with Mazey before about making the transition to clean energy, but the rally was about showing her students really care about the campaign, said sophomore Kaitlynn Trent, member of the Environmental Action Group.

“I think it’s really important to show student support,” Trent said. “We’ve been petitioning all semester and have over 2,000 signatures so it’s time to show President Mazey that the student voice is going to be heard.”

Showing support for the campaign alongside the Environmental Action Group were members of the Environmental Service Club, Net Impact, Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Alpha Chi Omega sorority and College Democrats among other University students.

Before students entered Mazey’s office to leave slips of paper with reasons why they want a clean energy campus, the students heard from Neocles Leontis, a professor in the chemistry department who has studied the use of geothermal energy.

Geothermal energy is one of the suggested renewable energy sources to use in the heating and cooling of campus instead of its current heating plant that runs on natural gas.

Leontis talked about how students of other schools, such as Miami University, Ohio State University and Ball State University, have already begun a transition to geothermal energy in all or at least part of their campuses.

“Unless we attack the heating and cooling problems on our campus, we can only make incremental changes,” Leontis said. “You have the power to take the first step in geothermal; go for it.”

Along with geothermal energy, students of the Environmental Action Group called for a switch to wind and solar power.

Madison Thomas, a junior spoke of the necessity of taking action to make this transition. Thomas said Ohio State recently invested in 25 percent wind energy from Northwest Ohio last year and is now saving $1 million.

“This is our wind that they invested in,” Thomas said. “There is no reason BGSU can’t use its well staffed administration, faculty and students to come up with a plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.”

Environmental Action Group President Josh Chamberland was last to speak at the rally. Chamberland said the 2,700 signatures on the group’s petition and 13 student organizations that have signed on in support make up more than 10 percent of the student body.

“We are building a movement here at BGSU and we cannot falter at this responsibility,” Chamberland said. “We don’t need to wait for other institutions to lead the way. We can be a global leader for everyone to follow and show what an institution looks like who cares about its students and its future.”

Chamberland led the group inside and upstairs in McFall Center where Mazey exited her office to greet the students and hear what they had to say. The group of over 40 students crowded into the lobby of Mazey’s office, each handing her their slips of paper. She accepted their suggestions with a smile and thanked them for their passion.

The students exited McFall and gathered outside exchanging excitement for having been able to deliver their messages personally to Mazey.

Members of the Environmental Action Group will meet with Mazey once more on March 26, when they will sit down and present their plan for a 100 percent renewable energy campus by 2020. The group hopes for an announcement from Mazey by Earth Day this year to commit to their campaign and Chamberland is now confident she may do so.

“Today went better than I could have expected and after seeing all of those students in her office, I’m confident she will be a leader in this campaign,” Chamberland said.