By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The Students for Sustainability, a group of about 40 Port Townsend High School students, will send 15 of its members — all seniors — on the trip to the nation’s capital over spring break, conducting rallies along the way before they meet with members of Congress.
“I hope we can raise awareness and talk to anyone who can make a difference,” said senior Peri Mullner, one of the students making the trip.
The students want to make people aware of climate change and the importance of decreasing the carbon footprint — something students will illustrate by using train travel.
They are raising money on Indiegogo at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-sustainabilitytrain with a $25,000 goal.
The campaign began Jan. 31 and ends March 20.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the students had raised $2,005 toward the goal, $8,000 of which is needed by Monday to pay for the train tickets.
While the school district will not contribute funds for the trip, it will lend the students the money to cover the cost of the tickets if the pledge level is above the needed $8,000, according to Superintendent David Engle.
The loan is necessary because even though the money is collected from the donors when it is pledged, it will not be disbursed to the students until after the campaign is closed.
The cross-country train trip already has had a bump in the track, forcing the group to leave a day earlier than planned.
The trip was originally scheduled to begin March 28 but will now commence March 27, with a planned early morning sendoff at the Haines Street Park & Ride.
The change is the result of the schedule of oil trains traveling throughout the Midwest. Their slow pace will delay the planned Chicago route transfer, according to Laura Tucker, one of the chaperones.
In the meantime, students are focused on the Indiegogo fundraiser, which includes several incentives for contributors, from a handwritten thank-you note for those contributing $10 to a $2,000 “Planet-Saver” award that includes an hourlong video conference with the students, plus a video shout-out and/or cameo.
While incentives are common elements on crowd-funding sites, the Students for Sustainability’s rewards are educational, where those pledging are given a chance to interact with the group.
Tucker said the students chose Indiegogo as an Internet crowd-sourcing tool because any money contributed to the cause will be received.
Other sites disburse the money only if the goal is reached.
In addition to the Indiegogo page, the group has connected with “The Moveable Feast of Films,” a series of 12 movies relating to food and nutrition sponsored by The Food Co-op and the Citizens for Local Food.
While admission to all of the movies is free, two of them have been designated as fundraisers for the student trip.
Donations for the students will be accepted at “Dive” on Feb. 13 and “A Place at the Table” on March 17.
Both begin at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 1500 Van Ness St.
The group has already contacted U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, and the 6th Congressional District representative, Derek Kilmer, a Democrat from Gig Harbor, about visiting and plans to schedule meetings with other members of Congress.
Kilmer’s 6th District includes Jefferson and Clallam counties.
They are also attempting to schedule a meeting with President Barack Obama but aren’t getting their hopes up, Tucker said.
For a full schedule of movies, visit www.foodcoop.coop and click on the “Fresh & Free Moveable Feast Film Series” icon.
For more information about the trip and how to contribute, visit http://tinyurl.com/PDN-sustainabilitytrain.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.