Today — three days before the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City — global citizens will step out of their workplaces and address the climate crisis as part of the Global Climate Strike. More than 4,000 strikes have been registered across the world since Sept. 16, and more than 800 of them are taking place in U.S. communities.
Members of the Allegheny community are joining in the action. Today in the Gator Quad and Henderson Campus Center, student organizations and faculty members will gather in an effort to better understand the climate crisis, see why there’s a need to take action and discuss what can be done to address it.
To do so, a number of organizations and departments on campus will participate in various activities. The Green Students of Color Society, for example, will have six tables set up in the Gator Quad and aim to facilitate student participation in the Climate Strike.
“We’re going to have posters set up,” said founding member of Greensocs Melissa Burnett, ’20. “Most of the posters are related to other disciplines so we can relate to the audience as a whole. So we’ll have posters on psychology, biology, etc.”
Burnett said the club hopes that everyone will “see the impact that climate change is having.”
Founding members of Greensocs Cassie Brown, ’20, and Shaellen Franco, ’21, also stressed the importance of all disciplines recognizing the importance of taking action to bring attention to the impact of the climate crisis.
“We want people to start having a working mentality of, ‘How can I mold sustainability around what I’m doing, or mold what I’m doing around sustainability?’” Brown said.
Other organizations in the Allegheny community will be holding events and activities as well, on and off the Gator Quad. The Center for Political Participation will be tabling and holding voter registration, while students from the Dance and Movement Studies Department will be performing a “Planet Dance” at 1:30 p.m. on Murray Lawn
Activities will also continue later in the day and over the weekend — At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, there will be a showing of “The Human Element” in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.
Bringing attention to the climate crisis and taking action are critical steps that individuals and organizations must continue to take, according to Kelly Boulton, sustainability director at Allegheny College.
While it is important to focus on what can be done now and into the future to stop the climate crisis, Boulton also said it’s also important to highlight Allegheny’s commitment to climate action, which has been over a decade long.
Allegheny became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007. This initiative began in 2006 with 12 higher education institutions that committed to climate action and sustainability.
Ever since, Allegheny has cut its carbon footprint by nearly 50%, according to Boulton. The institution has also committed to climate neutrality by 2020, meaning it strives to be an organization that has net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, in an effort to reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“(And the climate action has been) student-driven and embraced by the entire community,” Boulton said. “To me, the Climate Strike is a little bit about celebrating where we’re at, and then also saying, ‘And what else do we need to do?’ Because there’s always more — there’s always more to do.”