Colgate students, faculty and administrators came together on Friday, September 20 to join the global strike on climate change, inspiring sustainable environmental action around the world and on Colgate’s campus. The event was primarily hosted by the on-campus organization, Students for Environmental Action (SEA); however, a variety of other campus groups and departments also showed their support on the academic quad.
The event took place from 11:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.The Colgate Climate Strike was part of a larger movement across universities and youth activists around the world. The main focus of the strike was to prompt action from the Colgate administration. They provided a list of demands to be accomplished by 2025, including becoming a plastic-free campus, switching to all electric vehicles and implementing a university-wide compost program.
The strike began with a rally on the main academic quad and eventually a campus-wide march.
“We want clean! We want green!” community members chanted.
Many of those who spoke at the strike, including Professor Ries of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies, stressed the importance of achieving these goals, one of them being mitigating meat consumption.
President Brian Casey commented on the strike. “One, I think it’s important to
participate in a shift in a world conversation,” Casey said. “Second, both to acknowledge some of the things we have done here on campus, for which I’m pretty proud, but to think about the future things that we ought to be able to do, and to have more people realize this is part of their day-to-day.”
John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability, also expressed his excitement after seeing the effort put into the Climate Strike.
“I can say this is most definitely my proudest moment; and the moment I’ve been most inspired by,” Pumilio said.
Junior Ethan Reiser, Green Raider Intern in the Office of Sustainability, stressed the importance of making climate change a more central focus on campus.
“I think it’s really important for our young individuals across the nation, especially students to get involved and care deeply about this issue, so I am really passionate about it and I want other people to become passionate about it so when we get into those positions we can make the change that needs to happen,” Reiser said.
Jaanvi Sachdeva, the co-president of SEA, deemed the event a success and hopes to build upon the momentum from Friday’s Global Climate Strike.
“I was so inspired by how many students actually showed up — students, professors, community members — it was amazing. And I think that we really need to take this momentum and move forward by actualizing all of the demands that we asked for, and I think we can do it,” Sachdeva said.
In addition to the list of demands cited as part of SEA’s goals for the strike, there is also a petition circulating around campus and on Change.org. The Colgate Climate Strike will continue throughout the week with more events hosted by SEA and other campus organizations, including ‘Meatless Monday’ on September 23 and a documentary screening on Tuesday September 24.