Next year’s EnvOrg president, first year Emma Dolce, attended the meeting Representative Upton, along with Nicholas Wikar, Nicki Hurley, and Melissa Ledbury, who are members of Western’s environmental organization Students for a Sustainable Earth. Sophomore Dan Kilburn, senior Leeor Schweitzer, and Rob Foley K’09, as well as other members from Students for a Sustainable Earth also attended the meeting in support of the groups.
“The biggest one…is nuclear issues,” said Kilburn. “[Upton]’s a huge proponent of that power source, and the largest shipment of nuclear material ever is proposed to go across the Great Lakes. [The shipment] contains traces of uranium and plutonium and if a tiny piece of any of those reactors falls into the Great Lakes it could mess with the entire ecosystem.”
According to Kilburn, Upton, has previously denied that this shipment is scheduled to occur. The group that met with Upton provided him with educational materials to prove that it was happening.“That was probably one of the most positive things,” Kilburn said.
Still, the group continues to be frustrated by Upton’s claims that he is unable to create policy change. “He lives here just as much as me or you, and his arguments that he can’t do anything are absurd…He absolutely needs to listen to us because we’re the ones who elected him, whether we voted for him or not.”
According to Western student Nicholas Wikar, who led the debrief after the meeting, said that the meeting was good and constructive, but that another meeting would be necessary. “We hope to get it public and with the people who were in that meeting. It’s going to be an ongoing effort…We didn’t get any solid answers beyond just a serious concern with what is actually happening with that nuclear shipment, which is good that it’s not just his staff anymore, it’s now him.”