Solar Postcards Take the Capitol

by Stephanie Spitzer

On Monday, March 5, 2012, I and other Sierra Club staff and volunteers showed up at the State Capitol with five heavy boxes filled with the 6,000 postcards to the Governor. The postcards call upon Gov. Dayton to lead the way toward a solar and renewable energy future in Minnesota. The accompanying letter from the Sierra Club re-states our wish to generate 10% of state agencies’ energy from solar power by 2025.

Solarpostcards

(That’s me, second from left!)

The State Fair solar postcards were the first project I worked on with Sierra Club that felt like I saw most of the project through to its various steps to the final goal of delivering them to the State Capital. Up until that project, I had signed up to do miscellaneous tabling and petitioning activities with Sierra Club, but I hadn’t done enough yet to understand how we were accomplishing our goals of protecting the environment.

I worked two two-hour shifts over Labor Day weekend to collect postcards along with over one hundred other Sierra Club volunteers throughout the duration of the State Fair. I even dragged my roommate along on Labor Day so that we could make a day of it at the State Fair. We had some slow moments, during which we got to know our fellow volunteers, brought together by a love of the environment, and we had our busy moments, handing out as many clipboards as we could, especially when the booth next to us was hosting giveaways. Many good-humored people waiting in line in front of our booth signed postcards while they waited. It was the Great Minnesotan Get-Together and it was fun to see so many people pass by.

Being involved with the process from collecting postcards, attending (and later organizing!) Data Entry Parties, then taking the postcards to Gov. Dayton was a great way to understand the process of grassroots organizing. I became a big fan of the Data Entry Parties: entering data is a pretty easy way to get involved, and the pizza and company were always a treat. By the end I was helping organize a few of them and bringing party hats and noisemakers so that it was still fun, even if data entry isn’t the most exciting thing for a volunteer to be doing.

At the end of the State Fair we held a drawing from the postcards and gave out prizes, like a Sierra Club backpack. Then we had to sort the postcards between drawing entries, non-residents, and Minnesotans, and once that was finished we could take the postcards signed by Minnesotans to the Capitol.

Minnesota has been racing to implement solar panels on a few big buildings, but there’s always more we can be doing. These postcards remind Gov. Dayton that we Minnesotans want to encourage more clean energy solutions and that he, as governor, plays a major role in leading us to that renewable energy future. Thank you to everyone who signed a postcard at the State Fair, and see you next year!

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