No, their detailed description wasn't of the rampant poverty that exists in much of the area they visited - Boone County, north of Logan, south of Charleston (where one of every five people lives below the poverty line and the average per capita income, according to the last census, is $14,453; about what it costs to attend party-hardy Radford for a year, and about equal to the annual cost of per capita alcohol and marijuana consumption). Nor of the many, and growing number of abandoned homes and businesses in the county (unlike most of America, Boone County, West Virginia experienced a decline in its population between 1990 and 2000 as a horde of people moved out to find work). Nor of the woeful problems that exist there with broken health care delivery systems, inadequate schools, or the rise in criminal activity.
No, the troubling circumstance these students drove three hours to find was ... commerce:
The Green Team attempts to move mountains in the coal mines of West VirginiaNow there's a creative way of explaining West Virginia's decline in population. I'll bet these students are putting their heads together as I write this to come up with an explanation for the state's dismal decades-long economic performance and bleak outlook as well. You can be sure it will have something to do with mountaintop removal mining and the minimum wage. And global warming.
by Ashlee Cossaboon and Hilary Smith, The Radford Tartan
Mountaintop removal is quickly becoming the most devastating force ever to hit the Appalachian Mountains. Members of Radford University's Green Team traveled to West Virginia Nov. 12 as part of Mountain Justice Summer's Southeast Youth and Student Mountaintop Removal Convergence this past weekend to get a firsthand look at how the mountain environment is quickly crumbling away.
"Mountaintop removal is awful to hear about, but to go and witness the impact firsthand is indescribable," said RU senior Lauren Storie.
Mountaintop removal is causing the citizens of affected areas to leave the only place they have ever known as home. (link)
No word on whether Ashlee and Hilary made it back to campus in time for Quadfest.