Making Marching History

HWS Students Care about Climate Change
Abbe Lentz '15

Abbe Lentz ’15

NEW YORK, NY – Four vans full of eager Hobart and Williams Smith students rolled out of the Colleges’ parking lot at 5:15 am on Sept. 21. They drove two hours to Binghamton, New York, where they met up with a larger group of people and began their three hour trip to New York City. With signs ready and lunches packed they were ready to participate in the largest climate mobilization in history.

On this very day  310,000+ people joined in solidarity to march in the People’s Climate March in NYC, according to peoplesclimate.org.

“There are so many passionate students on campus and I couldn’t have felt more honored while marching the streets of NYC with 35 of them,” says Stacey Davis ’15 who coordinated this trip with Adam Maurer, the Sustainability Manger at the Finger Lakes Institute.

HWS students walk the 2 mile long march each for their own specific reasons but collectively everyone is there for the same reason. They want change. And they want it now.

“Our demand is for Action, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, we want a world safe from the ravages of climate change,” found on peoplesclimate.org.  

Abbe Lentz ’15, pictured above, brought a sign that read “Seneca Roots & Shoots for a Cooler Earth.” She is currently in a Reader’s College called “Roots & Shoots: Exploring Nature with Children.”

“We learn about peace and earth stewardship,” says Lentz. Before the march, she asked the children to draw on the poster what they would miss if the Earth got too hot.

They drew pictures of snow days, winter coats, snowmen, trees, igloos, snowball fights, Polar Bears and Penguins.

Although these may seem like childish and funny answers these things can become our reality with evidence from new NASA study saying that the oldest and thickest parts of the Artic sea are disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice caps, according to nasa.gov. This also directly impacts Polar Bears who are in serious danger of going extinct because of global climate change and warming, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges has made a commitment to becoming a more sustainable and eco-friendly campus for some years now. Sustainability has become a goal for the HWS Campus with students, faculty, and staff alike.  The Environmental Studies Major is the second most popular major on campus, according to the sustainability page on the HWS website. The Campus Greens is now the largest student club on campus with over 100 members.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

As of June 2014, an electric vehicle charging station has been installed in the Medbery Parking lot that is both free and available to any electric vehicle. In 2011, the Colleges also switched to using 100 percent wind energy, so this charging station will be using all of HWS’ “green energy,” as well.  HWS was also, “the first small liberal arts college in New York to be powered solely by wind energy,” according to hws.edu/dailyupdate.

The fight for a healthy planet is not close to being done. This gathering of people of all races, gender and social class shows how unprecedented this issue is across the United States and the world and Hobart and William Smith Colleges will be fighting for our planet.

“We truly have a special crew Geneva…it makes me feel incredibly hopeful for the future,” says Davis.

Clare is the Copy Editor of Zap-Ed-News. She is studying Media and Society and English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is part of the William Smith Class of 2015.

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