by Krista Lee
Mountain Justice Spring Break is a week long program in Appalachia, Virginia that provides an incredible opportunity for students and activists to learn about the true cost of coal extraction in one of the most heavily affected areas of the country. Through workshops, community involvement, and service field work, this program explores the monoeconomy created by coal in this region; its environmental, health, and social impacts. People attending the alternative spring break learn methods of organization, resistance from strong and resilient community members and organizers.
At Green Mountain College, the environmental and social consequences of natural resource extraction and the dangers imposed by the building of energy infrastructure is an often discussed topic both in and outside of the classroom. As an academic community, GMC students and faculty pride themselves on thee ability to critically examine the true cost of our relationship with the environment through multiple contextual lens. Four students are headed to MJSB to gain experiential knowledge that can further enrich our studies and our community through the dialogue and skill sharing. In 2012 seven students went to MJSB, and in 2013 fifteen students went. Student Senate is always in support of students attending alternative spring breaks and we highly recommend for students to take advantage of this! Students should research and find alternative spring breaks and write senate requests and go. Personally I went to Mountain Justice Spring Break twice and “No More Deaths” alternative spring break when I was eco-leaguing in Arizona last year.
The four students, upon returning to GMC from the alternative spring break, will put on a presentation that will be open to the campus community about all that was learned in Appalachia, VA and this will provide an educational opportunity for all students at GMC.