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Anti-nuke conference draws performers, political leaders to campus

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Maura Welch.

Free Energy was one of three bands that performed at the Global Zero conference this weekend. Photo by Contributing Photo Editor Jordan Emont.

Students filled University Yard Saturday night to enjoy a concert featuring Free Energy, Snowmine, Model N, and appearances by students and political leaders dedicated to a nuclear weapon-free future.

The concert was a part of a weekend-long convention held by Global Zero, an international, non-partisan movement that is dedicated to the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide. GW played host to hundreds of leaders from political, military, business, academic, religious, and artistic circles who convened to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

The convention facilitated a meeting between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and key Global Zero grassroots, as well as an interfaith panel featuring leaders and Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist scholars, and discussions with global security experts, including former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Jack Sheehan.

The convention was a landmark for nonproliferation activism in the United States, as it was the first student summit. It was also one of the largest conventions since the international ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Global Zero focuses on youth involvement and encourages students to take an active role in discussions.

“We want to give GW students the knowledge necessary to move forward and make their own decisions,” said Mariah Helgeson, the student organization’s co-president.

Austin Mendenhall, guitarist for Snowmine, said his band wanted to play the event because of its dedication to a nuclear-free future.

“Our manager originally got us interested in Global Zero last year,” he said before taking the stage. “We’ve played at Amnesty International benefits before, but this is our first time working with Global Zero. We’re really excited to be here.”

Members of the GW chapter got the opportunity to participate in an intimate meeting with Ban Ki-moon.

“He explained that the goal is mutually assured cooperation, instead of mutually assured destruction,” co-president Christina Walters said.

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