Six Middlebury students are bringing protests into the modern age.
The days of Washington-storming student protest seem long gone. With cynicism trumping earnestness just about everywhere, student activism has faded to the periphery of the national consciousness, often viewed as little more than an indulgence of youthful angst.But a student-run protest that aims to mobilize tens of thousands of people in response to a seminal issue of our time could change all that. For the past seven months, six Middlebury College seniors, Phil Aroneanu, Will Bates, May Boeve, Jamie Henn, Jeremy Osborn, and Jon Warnow (all 22 or 23) have been planning a national day of action, called Step It Up 2007. The group hopes the demonstrations, taking place April 14 in 49 states (sorry South Dakota), will convince Congress to mandate an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.The campaign's public face is the author Bill McKibben, who has written extensively on global warming-he recruits demonstrators on the environmental website Grist. But Step It Up's grunt work gets done in a solar-paneled office in Burlington, Vermont, where the students are coordinating more than 600 groups of demonstrators. "A little rally with a couple hundred people might not feel big for each individual organizer," says Aroneanu. "But when you can communicate with hundreds of other groups doing the same thing, the power of this really hits home."\n\n\n
|We want to find strength in local actions.|