Miami University Becomes 16th School to Move Beyond Coal
The first week of April, Miami University of Ohio announced it would immediately begin reducing the amount of coal burned on campus and eventually eliminate it altogether, validating the demands of Miami students who have worked for months to pressure the university to improve local health by abandoning coal. Above, student activists celebrate the decision.
"This shows that young people in Ohio aren't sitting idly by, waiting for campuses to protect our health," said Janina Klimas, coordinator of the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition. "Students across the state are stepping up and organizing on their own campuses to make the transition away from coal."
"The momentum and power of this movement has proven itself time and again," said Christian Adams, a junior at Miami and a representative of Miami Beyond Coal. "Dirty coal power is clearly on its way out of American campuses and communities. History is on our side."
Miami's move is part of a strong trend among schools in Ohio and across the country to reduce pollution by ruling out the future use of coal as an energy source. In March, Ohio University announced it would move off coal by 2016. Case Western Reserve University announced last summer that it would eliminate coal in its district heating system, and Oberlin College published a plan this January calling for its coal plant to be eliminated in favor of landfill gas.
"Every year that coal is burned on campus means more asthma, more lung disease, and more heart problems for local residents," said Nachy Kanfer of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "That's why we'll keep pushing to eliminate coal as soon as possible."
The Sierra Student Coalition has been instrumental in moving campuses off coal. Miami joins Cornell, Penn State, Case Western Reserve, Ohio University, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Clemson, Oberlin, Louisville, Western Kentucky, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Missouri University of Science & Technology, SUNY-Binghamton, and Wisconsin-Madison.
Want to get your campus off coal? Check out the Campuses Beyond Coal guide book.