View Gallery (2 Photos)College students from across the country flocked to the University of Wisconsin Friday for the second annual Midwest Student Clean Energy Conference. The three-day conference exhibited roundtable discussions, brainstorming sessions and keynote speakers at the Humanities building. UW senior Lois Rundell, who volunteered at the conference, said the meeting and discussion provided her with hope for the cause. "So much work and time and people hours have gone into this," Rundell said. "And to just have everything come together … is really great." The conference was hosted by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, a UW student organization that focuses mainly on environmental issues and is part of a larger movement known as the Campus Climate Challenge. The Challenge aims to reduce carbon emissions on campus by 90 percent by 2050 and is currently active on more than 500 campuses. Nile Malloy, an organizer for the conference, said one of the main goals of the conference was promoting the achievement of the 2050 energy goal put forward by the Campus Climate Challenge. "One key thing is to support the legislation that's being [put forward] by [Rep.] Black," Malloy said. State Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, who was Saturday's keynote speaker at the conference, recently introduced the Global Warming Solutions Bill, which aims to reduce Wisconsin's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, to the Wisconsin Legislature. If passed, the bill would make Wisconsin a leader in proactive climate change policy. Black spoke to assembled students about his legislation and the "massive implications" of global warming. "When we ignore this problem now and put gas in the atmosphere decades down the road, we are truly spending our children's inheritance," Black said. Black encouraged students in their battle against the "growing menace" of global warming, and cited the Wolf River case as an example of a difficult environmental fight. He reminded students of Wisconsin's legacy of environmental leaders such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson. Clean energy is bound to be an issue in the next presidential election, according to Black. He encouraged students to make sure it is a hot-ticket issue, making the fight for clean energy an important priority to Americans. "It's going to be a tough fight," Black said. "But it's a winnable fight." The conference was sponsored by Energy Action Coalition, Sierra Student Coalition, UW-Madison's WE CONSERVE campaign, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and WISPIRG, and culminated Sunday in a march from Library Mall to the Capitol steps. "The setup of UW-Madison is very unique," Rundell said. "We can march from the campus to the Capitol and demand reform." The march, which included "dirty" coal dancers and clean energy dancers, as well as the usual marching chants, was planned by students at the conference beginning Friday. Student ideas became reality literally overnight, as pinwheels for clean energy were made from recycled paper and handed to bystanders with a web address providing more information about the cause of the march. When the march, which involved hundreds of students, reached its end, the clean energy dancers served as a symbolic message for onlookers. "I said 'Ooo, it's hot in here — there's too much carbon in the atmosphere,"" students chanted. "Take action, take action and get some satisfaction!"