Student organizations will participate in the Global Day of Action on Sunday as part of an effort to eliminate coal usage as the primary source of power and promote new methods of renewable energy, club representatives said.
The Beyond Coal Campaign, which is part of the Sierra Club on campus, focuses on increasing visibility of efforts to find alternative uses of reusable energy to the university and greater Los Angeles area, said Rosalie Murphy, a freshman majoring in history and media coordinator for the campaign.
“We get more power from coal, which is a major contributor to public health problems and global warming, than from any other power source at USC,” Murphy said.
Other organizations in Los Angeles are also holding events to raise awareness for this cause. Several groups, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, are joining together to host a gathering Downtown on Sunday.
Los Angeles currently obtains about 39 percent of its overall power from coal plants, Murphy said. The Global Day of Action aims to raise awareness of how members of the community can erase this usage all together.
“By the end of the semester, we hope to meet with President [C.L. Max] Nikias to get a serious commitment and set up an action plan for making USC a coal-free institution,” Murphy said. “As a private school, we have the resources to pursue that goal, and we can end up being a huge player in the city of L.A. in terms of renewable energy.”
The Global Day of Action will give people an opportunity to be active against worldwide climate change, said David Caso, the assistant press secretary of the Sierra Club of Los Angeles.
“We are urging leadership to advocate getting out of the coal plants. Students at USC have the power to combat our dependency upon them,” Caso said.
Other U.S. universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Ball State University, have already been successful in completely eradicating coal plants as their main source of power, Caso said.
The Beyond Coal Campaign has been gathering signatures from students on campus to raise awareness and help it achieve its goals, Murphy said.
So far, the campaign has obtained about 1,000 signatures and collected 100 photo petitions to submit to university officials, Murphy said. The organization is also hoping to host a panel of clean energy experts for an open discussion on campus sometime in late October or early November.
Danielle Barrett, a junior majoring in political science, said she believes the campaign is helping push the university in a positive direction.
“Any attempt to break away from our dependency on coal as a primary source of energy is admirable,” Barrett said. “We have to realize that the issue of clean energy is something that will have a major impact on our generation down the road.”
The Global Day of Action in Los Angeles will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, with a rally on the South Lawn in front of City Hall, on First Avenue between Main and North Spring streets.
“We want to plug into the city in a wider way than just within the walls of campus, and this event gives students the opportunity to do just that,” Murphy said.