Students for Clean Energy is an education-based organization that focuses on teaching community members about clean energy. Grant Faber, the current club president, explains it as a platform that allows interested students to enter the clean-energy community. As a member of this community, students are granted opportunities to network with and meet people interested in similar issues. The organization encourages members to learn about and take part in or create projects that relate to clean energy.
The club was created in 2012 after its founder realized that the University of Michigan’s energy provider, DTE, was using West Virginia coal to support the school's energy needs. This sparked the club's original goal: getting the University of Michigan to commit to using 100% clean energy. Since then, the club has grown to cover many more issues (besides coal usage) but continues to revolve around its general push for the use of clean energy on campus. The club takes a yearly trek to West Virginia to visit the site that served as the original inspiration for the inception of Students for Clean Energy.
When asked what sparked his interest in sustainability, Grant told Live Green UMich, “When I was in high school, I went to Cedar Point. When we were on the bus, we drove by a nuclear power plant...that was actually a spark moment for me...I fell in love with nuclear energy. I’m not still in love with nuclear energy, but in that moment, I thought, 'This is the coolest thing in the world...to be getting energy from something that’s not burning oil or coal'...It just had this magic to it that kind of hooked me.”
Grant went on to talk about his relationship with the sustainability movement in a more general sense: "It has kind of been this combination of looking deep inside myself–looking at my intuition that is largely shaped by my childhood and then applying a rational lens to it and saying, 'Okay, why should I be involved in this? Why should I be worried about it?' Well, I think suffering is horrible, and I think we all kind of have a responsibility to mitigate suffering as much as possible, and my way to do that is [by tackling] climate change...that is kind of my North Star.”
Towards the end of the interview, the discussion shifted to the general difficulties involved in motivating people to care about sustainability and contribute to its maintenance and growth as a movement. Grant mentioned efforts that dedicate time to teaching children (at a young age) to start caring for the Earth as well as how big of a difference they can make in regard to improving our environment. He thinks that if you teach children the right things, they will grow up making the right decisions. Of course, this isn’t an easy problem to address and to tackle, but it is a very important one.
Thank you to Grant for taking the time to meet with us and share your insights.
To all readers, if you are interested in learning more about Students for Clean Energy, you can check out their website here.