Coal Free Mizzou makes strides with administration

The organization met with university officials to discuss their future goals.

Coal Free Mizzou found common ground with UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton in a meeting on Wednesday.

On Wednesday night, a small group of students within the organization met with Deaton and Wolfe. The students had the goal of making MU completely coal-free.

“We went through a personal narrative,” Coal Free Mizzou media coordinator Kelsey Wingo said. “We had talked with some farmers earlier in the week and they kind of gave us their personal stories of what they were dealing with because their land (was being destroyed).”

Wingo said the group talked about the pollution, climate degradation and the health effects of coal.

“Those are no secret,” Wingo said. “That’s really bad, but we kind of gave them statistics that they could play off of. We actually found some that were pertinent to the campus coal plant, so that resonated with them pretty well.”

Wingo said Wolfe and Deaton reaffirmed their commitment for the campus to be completely coal free at some point and that the group also brought up the topic of its deadline.

Coal Free Mizzou wants campus to be 100 percent coal free by 2015.

“It hasn’t been received well,” Wingo said of the deadline. “It’s very rapid — we know that. We acknowledge that.”

Wingo said the deadline wasn’t well-received because the funds "just aren’t there" to make changes that quickly. Wolfe and Deaton did say they would bring in an expert to do a energy feasibility reassessment of campus, she said.

“That was a huge take-away from the meeting for us, is that they wanted to do that for us,” Wingo said. “It reiterated that they wanted to be open and honest and leave the lines of communication completely open. They want to see what campus is capable of financially and in regards to the topography.”

Wingo said Coal Free Mizzou has done a “180” since last year in terms of how it's perceived on campus.

The meeting showed that if the organization is respectful and takes the right steps, the highest decision makers will be much more willing to put (Coal Free Mizzou) in the driver’s seat, Wingo said.

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