April 13, 2015

Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition Spring Summit

On Sunday, April 12 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition's (KSEC) Spring Summit in Lexington Kentucky. We met at an amazingly creative space that hosts students, nonprofits and businesses called The Plantory. The environment allowed for ideas to flow and grow into action plans. The organization itself states that their purpose is to be an "innovative and energizing coworking hub that fosters collaboration and nurtures growth for positive, passionate, and community-minded businesses and nonprofit organizations". Essentially we definitely met their mission and had a wonderful time discussing Kentucky environmental action. 


At our summit, KSEC focused on different ways to improve the organization, which works "toward an ecologically sustainable future through the coalescence, empowerment, and organization of the student environmental movement". 

Within KSEC I am a part of the Political Working Group, which "helps to promote and support good environmental policies, and renewable energy legislation, hold our elected officials and candidates accountable and empower youth voters". Within this group, we discussed an upcoming Renewable Energy Summit in Murray Kentucky, which will be May 21-22. This meeting will connect legislators, Western Kentucky energy providers, solar energy providers and anyone that is interested in learning more about renewable energy.

In addition to discussing this upcoming summit, our Power to the People campaign was discussed. This campaign aims to "create a youth powered movement to influence policies and elections to transition Kentucky’s economy away from fossil fuels and extractive industries and towards a sustainable and decentralized renewable energy economy while also supporting policies and actions that create community-based energy economies of scale". 

At our Spring Summit we had many breakout sessions regarding how to strengthen our campuses around the state of Kentucky. Some of the best ideas that we established involved incorporating more fun and educational events into our timeline such as going to festivals, hosting local cooking events and documentary nights. We really want to build a strong coalition of Kentuckians that believe in a brighter future for our environment and renewable energy in particular.

Other working groups within KSEC include the Just Transitions Working Group which, works "to transition to just, green economy in the Commonwealth". Also the Local Food Working Group is a really integral part of KSEC. They are organizing to grow, "local food movement in Kentucky and help build strong local economies and food systems in our communities and on our campuses". 

Many different campuses all over the state of Kentucky were represented. Murray State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, Centre College, Transylvania University, Berea College, and Alice Lloyd College were all involved. Evidently, there are many students all over the state of Kentucky that are interested in making a major impact in the environmental climate which we face.

Even if you do not live in Kentucky, you can still get more involved in the environmental movement. KSEC has helpful resources that can help nonprofit organizations, individuals and campuses organize for actions and campaigns. If you're interested in coming out to any of our events just check out our links on this page or you can email me directly at mbraden2@murraystate.edu