A newsletter on campus events, research, and civic engagement


RCC is excited to announce the first class of our Rachel Carson Council Fellowship Program. Starting in September of this year, RCC fellows will be working for environmental justice in communities and on campuses in North Carolina and Virginia.

The Fellowship program is designed to identify students and young people with a passion for environmental organizing and give them the skills and support to do more of that work. This year’s class of fellows will be working on a wide variety of issues, from promoting solar panels and advocating for divestment, to critical work resisting natural gas pipelines in rural communities.

Learn more about our fellows and follow their work throughout the year. Then check out the other campus programs that we offer.

                                     CAMPUS NEWS                                  

Solar schools: Stanford research examines overlooked benefits of solar panels on U.S. campuses

A new study from Stanford University indicates that solar energy is the sleeping giant resting on many college campuses. The study, released earlier this summer, indicates that if schools were to integrate solar more fully on their campuses, they could produce up to 75 percent of their electricity needs. All while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint and saving critical funds for other projects.

This year, RCC Fellow Emma Fry is going to work to bring solar to her campus after spending the summer interning for a solar company in North Carolina. Read more at Stanford News

• • • • •

NC Asheville becomes first in UNC system to divest from fossil fuels

In June, the board of the University of North Carolina at Asheville voted to divest $5 million dollars of its endowment from fossil fuels. New RCC Fellow Kelsey Hall was one of the critical student organizers that have been working to push the administration for divestment in a campaign that stretched all the way back to 2014. She will work to push UNCA to divest further along with other schools in the state’s university system. Read more at Citizen Times

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Organic Farm in West Virginia Is Imperiled by Gas Pipeline Construction

In West Virginia last week, a construction accident occurred along the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline resulting in damage to a small organic farm located along the path of the project. The pipeline, which will move natural gas from West Virginia to the coast through Virginia, has been incredibly divisive from it’s proposal. It has been heavily opposed by activsts and landowners with property devastated by the project.

Local organizers and RCC fellows have been incredibly busy in the past week organizing protests against the construction of the project, concluding with this action on Saturday. Read more at Truthout

• • • • •

Valedictorians focus speech on climate change

This summer, Valedictorian students graduating from both high school and college have been using their speeches to call for action on the Climate Crisis. In 2019, young people have called for meaningful action on the Climate Crisis louder than ever before. From the climate strikes in the spring to the recent protests calling for the DNC to host a climate debate; student leadership on the climate crisis is steering the conversation. 

This year, RCC Fellow Jenny Sab will be working to get her university to include sustainability in its core curriculum for freshman. Read more at AP News

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Tuition or Dinner? Nearly Half of College Students Surveyed in a New Report Are Going Hungry

New research and reporting is indicating that many college students across the country experience food insecurity and often go hungry during their time at school. The revelation highlights what challenges rising school costs present to vulnerable students, as well as the role of sustainability and food security on campuses.

RCC Fellow Julianna Tresca will be working to address this issue on her campus by expanding the access to local produce for individuals in need. Read more at The New York Times

                                   RCC IN THE NEWS                               

Enviva expansion under fire

On July 15, 2019 RCC Assistant Director Alexandra Wisner joined environmentalists and community members from across the state of North Carolina and visitors from Virginia and the United Kingdom showed up and gave public testimony against the proposed expansion of Enviva Sampson, an industrial wood pellet producer. Their words spoke truth to power, and the message was clear - North Carolinians want an end to the wood pellet industry in their state.

Unfortunately, the solution isn’t so simple. As detailed in our 2019 report, Clear Cut, Enviva has entrenched itself in North Carolina. It is a part of a system which harms the environment, perpetuates injustices against frontline groups, and divides communities under the guise of economic development. Read more at Rachel Carson Council

• • • • •

Does Nuclear Belong in Serious Climate Plans?

Chloe McGlynn, RCC Stanback Intern in Communications.

Nuclear power poses great risks to both public and environmental health, yet it continues to be cited as a leading “clean” energy solution in the federal conversation on climate change. Over the past few months, The New York Times and The Washington Post ran climate policy surveys that highlight nuclear energy as one of the most divisive subjects amongst the many 2020 Democratic candidates. How the next administration decides to invest in energy infrastructure could completely alter the course of the climate future. Looked at carefully, however, nuclear energy production, is neither emissions-free nor renewable. Understanding nuclear power is critical to engaging with the continuing public debate and to challenging candidates’ environmental policies as they continue to take shape. Read more at Rachel Carson Council

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