Last Friday on campus, I began my morning the way I always do: buying a bagel and orange juice at the student snack bar. The weather was too beautiful for me to stay inside, though, so I headed out to the quad where students were beginning to congregate.
A group of students had set up tents on our quad - and on the quad of Snowstorm University next door to us. The students had protest signs and petitions to be signed. They'd been there all week. You can usually tell our students from the Snowstorm University students. Ours are the ones wearing tie-dye shirts. Many of the woman wear long colorful skirts, often with Birkenstocks, hemp jewelry, and maybe a hoodie. Many of the men have long hair, often with bright headbands or bandanas. I could spot almost every color of hair too, from bright pink to vivid blue, as well as white kids with dreds.
Several students had guitars and were just gathering to sit on the grass and play. I joined them. It felt wonderful to sit in the sun; our Aprils are usually rainy so the weather felt like a miracle. I ate my bagel, listened to folk music, and chatted with students. The music was waking up the people in the tents, and they emerged sleepily, with disheveled hair and blankets draped over their shoulders, stumbling into the library to use the bathrooms.
It was in the 40s when I began eating breakfast but closer to 60 by the time I was done. The day was heating up fast. Months of work that had led to this weeklong protest were over, and the students were feeling triumphant. In response to their demands, Snowstorm University had agreed that by July 1, at least 20 percent of its electrical energy would come from renewable resources. It's a start.