Last week, millions of individuals from hundreds of countries stood together for one united cause: the Global Climate Strike.
Citizens from the United States, Scotland, Mexico, Canada and other countries gathered in protest of climate change in an effort to raise awareness about protecting the environment.
All-in-all, more than six million protesters participated in this worldwide movement. Many AU students were proud to be part of this number.
The students who brought the Global Climate Strike to AU shared their message in various ways; some students chalked messages on the sidewalks in the Valley in an effort to raise awareness and promote environmental responsibility, and some even set up a booth to hand out pins and offer more information on climate change.
SGA President Becca Peach was glad that AU students participated in this worldwide event.
“I am glad that the Global Climate Strike is happening,” she said. “I think it’s necessary; I think it draws attention not only to the fact that climate change is an issue, but also to the fact that it’s something that people actually care about.”
According to Peach, environmental friendliness is important for everyone to understand, and it is one of the largest focuses of her presidency.
“My first initiative for campus is getting recycling for paper in the common access areas around the buildings,” she explained. “Carter Haupt, my vice president, and I went around campus and wrote down a list of all the areas where we would like to put paper recycling bins to make it easier for students to recycle on a regular basis.”
Peach explained that this list was then shared with the Physical Plant, who hopes to have this project completed soon.
“The list we provided had locations on every floor of every academic building,” she said. “We had a follow-up meeting with the Physical Plant about it and they said that they should be able to install the bins, hopefully within the next couple of weeks.”
To ensure students make use of recycling bins, Peach hopes to label the bins in a clear way.
“Our next initiative is to make sure that all of the recycling bins are clearly labeled so that students can easily participate in recycling,” she said.
Peach’s plan does not stop there. Before the school year comes to a close, Peach hopes to have completed another environmental project.
“An ultimate goal that we have is an end-of-the-year goal that’s installing a compost bin on campus,” she said. “We talked to Food Services and the Physical Plant about this, and they are interested in pursuing it. That’s something that we would hope to have done by the end of the year.”
While Peach is working diligently on these projects, she also hopes to raise awareness of ways in which the environment is affected daily by humans.
“We also are going to have a campaign to make students aware of the ways in which they can be friendly towards the environment, not just on the institutional level of AU, but also through things like recycling,” she said. “Awareness campaigns and letting people know how they affect the environment are important because we want students to be really conscious of the choices that they make and the ways they affect things around them.”
Caroline States, junior public relations and visual communications design major, is working hard to bring awareness to campus.
“The group of us that chalked the valley, passed out pins, and shared information and environmental resources on Sept. 27 are the beginnings of a group called the Tree Huggers, founded by me and Veronica Bryant,” she explained. “We are hoping it will soon be a school-sanctioned interest club.
“The point of the club will be to advocate for environmental action globally as well as locally, educate the community about the importance of sustainability, do environmentally focused service projects and just have a really good time appreciating our beautiful earth.”
States explained that her group has experienced pushback from students across campus who do not support the cause.
“We have faced some backlash from people on campus who believe that climate change is not real or that it is not Christian of us to advocate for the planet when our true goal should be obtaining eternal life in heaven,” she said. “We argue that campaigning for climate action is a Christian thing to do, because Christians believe this Earth is God’s creation, and because of that, Christian environmentalists feel called to take action to protect this gift we have been given.”