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Phone banks call for clean energy

John Cameron | Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In preparation for the upcoming 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Repower Indiana will be on campus this week encouraging students to get involved with the movement toward a more environmentally-conscious America.

“Repower Indiana is a clean energy campaign, funded and organized by the Alliance for Climate Protection,” Bobbie Stewart, communications director for Repower Indiana, said. “We want to inform people about the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy, as well as advocating for clean energy legislation.”

Repower Indiana will be organizing phone banks where students can call Indiana residents, asking them to support clean energy legislation. Phone banks will be available from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in room 310 of DeBartolo Hall and Wednesday in the Gold Room of LaFortune Student Center.

“People will be coming by and learning more about … how they can be involved with clean energy events around Notre Dame,” Stewart said. “During the phone banks, Repower volunteers will be calling community citizens and asking them to help reach out to [Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar] to pass clean energy legislation.”

A clean energy bill is expected to reach the Senate floor in the near future, and Stewart said the Indiana senators’ votes in support of this legislation are far from guaranteed.

“We’re hopeful, it’s really hard to tell … Lugar is at least focused on conservation,” she said. “There’s some concern amongst the legislators that it will actually cost Indiana money, which we don’t believe is the case.”

Stewart said she sees student involvement in the campaign and influence over the legislature as especially crucial.

“Their impact, it’s far, wide and critical. There’s a recent poll of youths asking if they believe the country should be transitioning to a clean energy economy, and the answer was overwhelmingly high,” she said. “Over 70 percent was yes.”

Notre Dame students, in particular, have an important voice, Stewart said.

“Their vote and their voice matter,” she said. “It’s time to stand up and exercise that voice for an issue that will be affecting you today and tomorrow.”

Stewart said Notre Dame students should be invested in climate protection for the same reasons as other Americans, but that students have even more at stake as members of the younger generation.

“Just like anyone else, in the state, in the country, they stand to benefit from jobs that would receive funding from a clean energy initiative,” Stewart said. “The most important reason to transition is for a clean planet for future generations to come.”

“One reason students are really motivated is the question of what’s going to be left for them in 30 or 40 years,” she said.

Stewart said it is important for students not to underestimate the difference they can make in the push for a cleaner America. She considers the role of Indiana residents, especially students, central to ensuring for a clean energy bill to get passed by the Senate.

“Again, I’d say we’re hopeful, but a lot of it depends on Hoosier engagement, people like Notre Dame students.”