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BULLETIN | News for Members

By Della Watson

Grilled | Power Play | We Know What You Did Last Summer

Invading the Privacy of the People Who Make the Club Tick

Photo by Beth Rooney
NAME: Talya Tavor
LOCATION: Michigan State University, East Lansing
HOMETOWN: Buffalo Grove, Illinois
CONTRIBUTION: President of the MSU Sierra Student Coalition

IS THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT STRONG AT MSU? It's getting a lot bigger. When we started MSU's Beyond Coal campaign, most of the students had no idea that we had an on-campus coal plant, let alone that it's the largest on-campus coal plant in the country. But we've been around now for a year and a half, so a lot more people know about us and what we're doing. It's been cool to see that progression.

YOU GREW UP WITH ASTHMA, RIGHT? I was diagnosed with it when I was two, and it's been getting worse. Last summer I was hospitalized for a week because of it.

IS THIS PART OF THE REASON YOU'RE INVOLVED WITH BEYOND COAL? Absolutely. If I can help prevent kids from having to go through what I go through on a daily basis, that makes it all worth it.

DO TREE HUGGER STEREOTYPES STAND IN YOUR WAY WHEN YOU'RE RECRUITING STUDENTS? Not with our group, because we're not seen as the hippie-tree hugger group. There are other environmental groups on campus that have way more of that image. People choose one or the other, depending on their taste.

ARE YOU RIVALS? No, but sometimes the others are, um, a little more extreme than we are. We actually work together a lot because we're after the same goal.

WHAT CAN MSU DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT? Our big ask is that the MSU administration make a commitment to get off coal by a specific date, so this way we can have an aggressive plan to make sure we reach that date.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? I play guitar. Pretty much everyone in the group plays an instrument or sings, so we joke that we've got this kick-ass band called BCB, the Beyond Coal Band. We're gonna premiere it one of these days.

DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION IN PREVIOUS ACTIVIST MOVEMENTS? We like to say that this is our civil rights movement. Looking at how it succeeded can help us succeed.

DOES ANYBODY ON CAMPUS SPORT A JOHN MUIR BEARD? [Laughs] No, I wish. Man, that'd be awesome. —interview by Della Watson


iStockphoto/ ULTRA_GENERIC

Ten thousand activists flooded into Washington, D.C., in April for Power Shift, a three-day environmental summit organized by youth-activist groups including the Sierra Student Coalition.

The commander-in-chief noticed: A scheduled meeting with White House aides drew a surprise appearance by President Barack Obama. "You have the power. That's why I'm here," he told them. —D.W.


Chuck Baldwin Photography

New York University sophomore Kokei Otosi (far left) scored the Best Internship on Earth, a paid summer gig hiking, camping, and rafting with various Sierra Club outings programs.

Equipped with $2,000 worth of gear from the North Face, Otosi spent the summer based in San Francisco, racking up outdoor adventures and video blogging about her experiences. Sound like something you'd like to do? Applications for the Club's 2012 internship will be available in March at —D.W.

ON THE WEB Check out Kokei Otosi's videos


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