University of Illinois Urbana Champaign students were hoping to send a strong message today to the University administration urging them to divest from coal.
Those who attended the rally are taking a stance and trying to make the community a more healthy and livable environment. The Beyond Coal Campaign has been looking to eliminate fossil fuel emissions for the past year, and today they are hoping the administration will listen to what they have to say.
Last week the Illinois Student Sentate passed a resolution asking for a divestment from the schools investment in coal.
President Tyler Rotche of the Beyond Coal Campaign is hoping the school will start taking their campaign more seriously.
"What we're doing is asking the university to stop investing in coal because they did commit to stop burning coal at the Abbot Power Plant, but if you're investing you're still funding a fuel source that is damaging to people elsewhere," said Rotche.
Local farmers like Charles Goodall also spoke at today's rally about the negative affects coal has on the local farming community.
"I'm here to tell you that we need to work together and we need to stand up to coal," said Goodall.
Students, farmers and even professors voiced their concerns hoping the university will get involved. Clark Bullard, who was a professor at the university for nearly 35 years, says their first challenge is to get the university to take these students seriously.
"I'm afraid that the universities reaction is to often underestimate students," said Bullard. "Underestimate their seriousness, their power, their commitment and their interest in making a difference in the world."
The Beyond Coal Campaign is focusing now on getting a policy passed by the Board of Trustess saying they will no longer invest in coal.
The president of the campaign said that so far the administration isn't doing anything about the coal issue.