When college students gear up for a road trip, that usually means a trunkful of beer and a backseat full of misappropriated sorority girls.
But over at Oberlin College, where the student body is known as much for its activism as its handsome selection of black turtlenecks, five kids took a less frivolous trip that still ended in the classic way: with everybody getting their asses arrested.
The Oberlin Five paid a visit to Youngstown last week to protest the hydraulic fracturing that’s become quite the outrage there of late. The area is particularly contentious in light of the seven earthquakes experts claim have taken place there this year, which critics say take the fun out of groundwater contamination common at fracking sites.
The students blocked the path of giant trucks carrying wastewater to the fracking site of D&L Energy. They were charged with disorderly conduct, but freed in time for soy lattes back home the next day.
“There are four wells in Ohio and many more permits in progress,” says Ben Shapiro, an Oberlin grad who spearheaded the field trip. “There are permits under way for hydrofracking as near as Broadview Heights. If you poison water anywhere, we’re all downstream here in Cleveland.”