Caught in the Crosshairs

Sam Crankshaw

Transylvania is conveniently at the epicenter of the energy debate in America. In a state that is among the country’s greatest producers of coal, coal is a hot topic in Kentucky.

Transy’s situation may seem like catalyst for conflict and heated debates, but it is actually quite the opposite. Coal may be in caught in the fire between several different groups, including environmentalists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and Kentuckians, but it is exactly for that reason that these groups are coming together.

Recently, Transylvania hosted a debate regarding the future of Kentucky’s future with coal, called a Conversation on Coal. Representing the coal companies was Kentucky Coal Association President, Bill Bissett. From the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, we had staff attorney Mary Varson Cromer.

The two were asked several juried questions from the student body, and followed the discussion with questions from the floor. Among the topics were the decline of the coal industry, environmental destruction, human health, jobs, profits, regulation, and the future.

Many of the above issues can be quite divisive, yet what we hosted was a discussion, not a fight. It was a civil presentation of different schools of thought. The Conversation on Coal was a perfect application of class discussions in which two opposing sides present arguments in an effort to reach a sensible synthesis.

At Transylvania, skills and knowledge learned in class discussions reach far beyond exams and readings. Transylvania is not an ivory tower, but a place where we can learn how to apply our academics to the outside world in order to improve our situation.

The Conversation on Coal is just one of many examples of great experiences that Transy gives its students and the community. It is also just one of the several ways in which Transy works with different groups to make real changes in the world.

At Transylvania you will not just consider ideas, you will argue them, improve them, and apply them.