Students campaign for change

Baleigh+Epperly+%28left%29+and+Abi+Gail+Taylor+%28right%29+tabling+in+the+Memorial+Student+Center+to+raise+awareness+about+keeping+West+Virginia+water+clean.+
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Students campaign for change

Baleigh Epperly (left) and Abi Gail Taylor (right) tabling in the Memorial Student Center to raise awareness about keeping West Virginia water clean.

Baleigh Epperly (left) and Abi Gail Taylor (right) tabling in the Memorial Student Center to raise awareness about keeping West Virginia water clean.

Trey Delida

Baleigh Epperly (left) and Abi Gail Taylor (right) tabling in the Memorial Student Center to raise awareness about keeping West Virginia water clean.

Trey Delida

Trey Delida

Baleigh Epperly (left) and Abi Gail Taylor (right) tabling in the Memorial Student Center to raise awareness about keeping West Virginia water clean.

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As the state’s legislative session continues, some concerned students focus on the legislation surrounding an issue they said they find indispensable to students and residents of West Virginia: Water.

The “Keep West Virginia’s Water Clean!” table in the Memorial Student Center is run by Marshall students who represent the West Virginia River Coalition.

According to the coalition’s website, “In the coming days, the Senate Energy, Industry & Mining and Senate Judiciary Committees are expected to vote on revisions to West Virginia’s water quality standards— the rules that protect our water.”

The West Virginia legislature examines the quality of West Virginia water. The quality standards are “currently based on science conducted prior to 1985,” according to the website. In 2015, the EPA recommended that “West Virginia update its human health criteria to reflect better, more recent science,” according to the website.

The tabling efforts serve to gather signatures for a petition curated by the coalition.

“I got an email about this petition, and it seemed like something I could hop on board with and get people together to pursue,” said Abi Gail Taylor, one of the Marshall students raising awareness for this project amongst her peers.

The petition reads: “It is critical that members of these committees hear from you! Ask them to protect public health and adopt all of the EPA-recommended human health criteria updates.”

So far, the petition has reached 102 signatures and the number may still increase.

The group also plans to take their tabling to the Capital building in Charleston, West Virginia for E-Day, hosted by the West Virginia Environmental Council, on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Taylor hopes that this momentum continues. Forming a club is amongst the list of goals she and her fellow team members hope to achieve.

“We didn’t intend to make a club, but seeing the support and excitement around this, we would love to pursue a club and get more involved with the community and the campus and hold events or do community service,” Taylor said.

Co-project coordinator Baleigh Epperly said the main objective is to raise awareness.

“The ultimate goal is to inform and educate people who may not be educated on this topic,” Epperly said. “There are a lot of things that fly under the radar that I think we deserve to know about as citizens, and they don’t want to tell us the information, so I’d like to educate myself so I can educate others.”

With a mission to educate and spread awareness, the group effectively wants to make change in several ways on campus, in the state and even in the world.

“I want people to know that there are things they can do, especially starting on a small scale,” Taylor said. “Even if we were to just spread awareness on campus. Starting small-scale is a good way to get people feeling like they’re actually going to make a difference and change something.”

More information about this project can be found at wvrivers.org and the “Keep West Virginia’s Water Clean!” table in the Memorial Student Center. The table will be set up until Friday, Feb. 1.

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected] 

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