by Debra Johnson, Published May 28, 2013
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University student Erica Mooney has been selected as one of the nation's prominent young leaders in the sustainable energy sector by the national non-profit youth empowerment organization, Focus the Nation.
Mooney, 21, from Ann Arbor, is a senior at Eastern who is studying urban and regional planning within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). She is the president of The Giving Garden, Eastern's campus-community garden, and was recently appointed to the Student Leader Group as the representative for the CAS.
In August, Mooney and nineteen other students from across the country will meet on Oregon's iconic Mt. Hood at the ReCharge! retreat to explore an area of the country where energy is accelerating towards renewables. In a highly collaborative environment, participants will unplug, reflect and engage as they explore a deeper set of skills needed to stay committed to clean energy throughout their careers.
The rising clean energy leaders - five each in the categories of Technician, Innovator, Politico, and Storyteller- were selected for their dedication, passion, and unique contribution to advancing sustainable energy in America. Mooney has been selected in the Technician category.
During the retreat, participants will hike Elliot Glacier, which has experienced 60 percent snowpack loss since 1982; tour the Boardman Coal Plant, scheduled to close by 2020; experience The Dalles Dam, located on the Columbia River and producing hydropower since 1957; and visit Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, which powers 125,000 homes in rural Oregon.
"Entertaining the possibilities of being surrounded by other passionate individuals and seasoned professionals while learning and experiencing realities of building a clean energy future recharges my mind," says Mooney.
Upon returning home, ReCharge! participants will put what they've learned at the retreat to use on their campus and in their communities by promoting sustainable energy solutions.
"I hope to further my communication and leadership skills, and hopefully bring back some ideas of concrete avenues for continuing a relationship between EMU and Focus the Nation," said Mooney. "I would love to help steward, advise and support the creation of a Forums to Action on campus."
Mooney aims to make her thesis paper a synthesis of the best practices for implementing plans towards sustainability coalitions at the city and university level. She hopes to continue this work after graduation as a coordinator.
Focus the Nation is the country's leading youth empowerment organization, and supports rising leaders in launching careers that accelerate the transition to sustainable energy in all fifty states. Visit the Focus the Nation homepage or the ReCharge! homepage for more information.