Student activists travel to NYC for climate change march

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William Gordon

Barker Carlock ‘17 holds up “Marching for Texas” sign at the People’s Climate Change March.

Photo by Hana Isihara ‘17

Students march with 400,000 other people in climate change march last Sunday

About 40 students and one professor were bused to New York City to walk in the People’s Climate Change March last Sunday, expressing their passion for environmentalism alongside hundreds of thousands who traveled to the city for the march.

Elizabeth Lucy ‘15, who played a large role in organizing student participation in the march, said she was glad to see the amount of students who cared enough about the issue to come to New York that day.

“I knew the interest had to be out there and I only knew maybe a quarter of the people on the bus,” Lucy said. “I’m so glad to have met a bunch of other college students that are passionate and will give up a Sunday to walk for…miles.”

The People’s Climate Change March stretched for 2.2 miles, according to The New York Times, and had about 400,000 participants. Many students represented their colleges at the march, including Gettysburg College, Colby College, and Drew University.

Lafayette students walked in scattered groups along the march’s path.

Brittany Flynn ‘15 was among the students from Lafayette who gathered in front of Williams Arts Center at 7:45 in the morning to embark on about a 2 hour bus ride to New York City. An Eco-Rep for Lafayette College she said she was inspired to join the march to channel her strong feelings about environmentalism to what she believes to be in a positive direction. Before the march, she said she thinks the march will bring more attention to the issue of climate change.

“Being out here, we’re saying ‘We’re the people, this is democracy,’” Flynn said before the march. “We’re all showing our voice that we need to change.”

Barker Carlock ‘17, who is also an Eco-Rep, agreed.

“I think what’s important is the awareness that’s brought to an issue,” Carlock said.

After the march, Carlock held a McKelvey discussion for the whole house with another student Sunday night about the events of that day. He continues to do research in biodiesel sustainability practices and takes “bucket showers” to limit the amount of energy he uses.

Professor Jessica Hejny, who teaches a class on environmental social movement, was the only professor from Lafayette who went to the march. She said she believed it was important to go to New York to participate in the People’s Climate Change March.

“I wanted to go because I have personal commitments for environmental activism and also because I think it’s really helpful to demonstrate to students that you can pursue both academic research and activist concerns,” Hejny said.

Lucy said she was inspired by the event.

“When I’m around that many people that are that revved up and excited it’s very empowering for me and inspiring and reminds me why I am a passionate, go-getting individual,” Lucy said. “It really just charges me up. And I feel like my ears will be a lot more open and my eyes will be a lot more open to what’s happening in the climate change realm.”

She began advertising the march on social media and arranging the trip about a week before the event. With funding from student government and the Environmental Studies Program, Lucy was able to organize a bus for the students who wanted to go to the march. It involved a lot of last-minute planning, she said, but she was glad she did it.

Co-Director of the Programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies Dru Germanoski said it was significant to provide funding for students to go to the People’s Climate Change March.

“Climate change scientifically is a fundamentally important issue, and it’s real,” he said. “And to try to bring public attention to this, more so, is I think an effort that is worth supporting.”