A two-day sustainability event focused on responding to environmental concerns and encouraging student involvement in the community.
The first event of Power Shift Linfield took place Feb. 26, with keynote speaker Riki Ott, a marine biology professor and activist. The event was inspired by the regional conference, Power Shift West, which was held in Eugene, Ore.
Ott opened the conference speaking about environmental hazards such as oil spills in Alaska that have been ignored for many years. She explained that because many of these problems have gone unsolved, it has inspired her to devote her life to getting justice for the people that have been negatively affected and the environment.
Live music drew in more than 300 people following the keynote speaker. Concluding the day’s events was a concert held in Ice Auditorium. The opening performer was a campus-based reggae band titled Na Hemo. The opening band, Pyramiddd, is from Portland. Na Hemo, a reggae band that originates from Hawaii, is made up of Linfield students. Pyramiddd, made up of band members Joshua Hodges, Ryan Biornstad, Shawn Glassford and Keil Corcoran, originated out of Portland.
Feb. 27 began with two hour-long sessions made up of panels and workshops spread out across campus. Students were given a list of choices and could attend whatever they were interested in.
The 90-minute lecture attracted approximately 65 students.
During the day, a local organization fair was coordinated by one of the Power Shift organizers in the Fred Meyer Lounge, junior Sarah Valentine said.
Many different community organizations participated and set up booths for students to learn more information about them.
Approximately 16 different organizations participated.
Participating organizations included Beyond Coal/Hey Northwest Natural, Cascade Climate Network, CFL Campaign, Community Garden, Cozine Community Cycle, Greenfield, Kris Bledsoe Campaign, Oregon Peaceworks, Show Me Democracy, Slow Food, Waste Not, Yamhill Basin Council and Yamhill Valley Peacemakers.
After the panels, workshops and fair concluded, students rallied at the Riley fountain, for the March for Climate Justice event. Participants marched through the campus and community.
“We really wanted to do a march because we thought it would be more impactful and intense,” senior Duncan Reid said.
More than 100 students came out to participate in the panels, workshops, fair and march.
Finally, the conference came to a close with a capstone panel discussion that featured local politicians. Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, McMinnville Mayor Rick Olson and Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern all appeared at the discussion.
The Power Shift group organizers came up with questions and topics for the presenters and then left them to guide the discussion.
Approximately 35 students attended the discussion.
The group of students that organized Power Shift Linfield were seniors Avalon Fox and Katie Kann; juniors David Kellner-Rode and Sarah Valentine; sophomore Matthea Brown; and freshmen Tyler Gerlach and Katherine Takaoka. All of the students are members of the campus’ Greenfield organization.
Although the senior organizers for Power Shift Linfield graduate in June, the remaining organizers said they plan to hold this event again next year.
The group met every Sunday for two months to debrief and plan the events to take place at Power Shift Linfield. Each organizer took on a certain role and was in charge of specific events at the conference. They also worked with the Linfield Activities Board to book performers and collaborated with faculty and facilities in order to use classrooms and certain buildings for the events.
When planning what events would take place during the conference, the group thought about what students would be interested in seeing, Reid said.
The goal was to spread the message of inclusiveness and create a community event that would breakdown barriers.
“It was an amazing experience,” Takaoka said. “I want to help organize it again next year.”
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Culture reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org