Coal Free Mizzou creates Pinterest for outreach

Three-thousand students signed a petition supporting a coal-free campus last October.

Coal Free Mizzou joined the social network site Pinterest last week as a way to promote the organization and energy awareness.

“We’re trying to use social media more effectively this semester to not only promote CFM but to also connect with and promote other Missouri student and community environmental campaigns,” CFM President Alexandra Rather said.

Sophomore Allie Krus, CFM social media chair, created the Pinterest after attending the MO Love retreat, a conference dedicated to energy independence on campuses around Missouri.

During a media workshop, someone from another Missouri campus suggested a Pinterest account for social media promotion, Krus said.

“I love my (Pinterest) account, so why don’t I create a Coal Free Mizzou one?” she said. “It’s a more lighthearted way to get the message across.”

Krus said she wants to turn the Pinterest page into a business profile for CFM because she feels that the layout is more appropriate for promotional purposes.

“In the end, having our name on more social media websites can’t hurt us,” Rather said.

CFM’s goal for this semester is to meet with MU administration to set a feasible date for making MU energy independent of coal, said CFM Media Coordinator junior Kelsey Wingo.

Rather said, once a date is set for MU to be coal-free, CFM will consider it a victory.

“The reason why we have worked so hard to meet these smaller goals is to achieve a much larger one: a coal-free Mizzou,” she said. “As of yet, there is no timeline or date in place that outlines a Mizzou that does not rely on coal for energy.”

The club's ultimate goal is to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels on campus and work to make connections with the community, Wingo said.

Rather said she hopes the change will come soon.

“We want a victory by the end of this semester,” Rather said.

CFM is working to create awareness about the costs of using coal as a energy source.

Energy consultant Meredith Elbaum discussed energy options for MU at a student-led workshop Feb. 11. Members of CFM, Missouri Students Association, Sustain Mizzou and the Graduate Professional Council attended.

CFM is working with Michael Brune, national executive director of the Sierra Club, to host an educational panel on independence from coal to raise awareness and answer questions about the issue.

Before CFM meets with the Board of Curators to discuss a coal-free MU in April, the organization hopes to host a rally with more than 250 people in attendance, Rather said.

Rather presented a petition last October with more than 3,000 signatures to the Board of Curators to show that a coal-free MU is important to students. CFM’s goal was to have 10 percent of the student body sign the petition. It took CFM more than two years to collect all the signatures, Wingo said.

MU recently converted one of its six coal-burning boilers to burn biomass, or organic matter. About 80 percent of the campus uses coal, and using biomass could cut the use of coal by about 25 percent, Wingo said. MU’s decision to burn biomass had nothing to do with CFM, however CFM members supported the decision.

“It is definitely a step in the right direction,” Wingo said.

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