Members of Coal Free IU congregated in front of the Sample Gates on Monday afternoon prior to walking to the office of IU President Michael McRobbie at Bryan Hall to deliver a bill detailing the cost externalities of burning coal on the IU campus.
Freshman Amanda Loch looked down at the handcrafted poster pressed against her stomach and read the poster’s inscription aloud.
“Coal breaks my heart,” she said.
“Literally,” senior and Coal Free IU President Megan Anderson added as she walked to where Loch was standing. “It causes cardiovascular problems.”
The group considers its actions cumulative and said the events on Monday will ultimately culminate in two weeks during which the IU Board of Trustees will congregate and deliver the IU Integrated Energy Master Plan.
Anderson said the Energy Master Plan will include a comprehensive analysis of the University’s total energy use, as well as details about what is necessary to convert to alternative energy resources.
“That’ll be a really important part of finding out what the next steps are for IU, how we can move to clean energy,” Anderson said.
Senior and environmental management major Ross Carlson stood in the group, grasping a notecard with a prepared speech.
“We’re here to deliver IU its outstanding bill for coal use. In the past, we’ve all paid the price for this cost of coal by living near the power plant, breathing its air,” Carlson said. “If included into this yearly bill, the cost for coal for the University would nearly double, making our power plant economically inviable, but we’re here today to try and push the University to make a stand.”
Shortly after 4 p.m., the group made its way to Bryan Hall.
One by one, each member of the group, which consisted of seven members in total, walked up the stairs posters in hand, banner at the ready and armed with the message they were hoping would be heard by those in the administration building they believe have the ability to to be heard by influential administrators.
After the group had ascended the single flight of stairs and was inside the doors of Bryan Hall, Anderson, at the front of the group, turned left and entered the administrative office.
Anderson announced to the woman at the front desk that the individuals present were in the office to represent Coal Free IU and proceeded to summarize the group’s intentions and request that the materials they brought with them be archived.
The ongoing issue of utilizing a more efficient energy source is years old, leading to the University’s current position.
IU Associate Vice President of Communications Mark Land said IU is doing what it can as far as energy efficiency is concerned and that it is necessary to factor in the little things.
He said Monday, for example, was the first day of the IU Spring Energy Challenge, when multiple campus buildings will compete to use the smallest amount of energy.
Land said the University is always looking for ways to become more efficient and to reduce the amount of coal that is used.
“It’s a very complicated issue,” Land said. “We understand and respect their point of view. It’s just a very big ship to try and turn. We share a lot of goals with Coal Free IU.”