Passionate UMBC students have organized a bus to the Peoples Climate March in Washington DC
Tickets are available for $6 each at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/peoples-climate-march-bus-umbc-commons-circle-tickets-33911714852
Read more about the march at www.peoplesclimate.org.
Student Organization Environmentalism at UMBC
Article by Zach Clifton
You remember how yesterday I said we’ll talk about how exactly we can go about reversing the effects of climate change today (link: Don’t Panic: Climate Change is Not An Invincible Boogeyman)? Instead let’s put that on hold for a little bit to talk about what environmentally-minded students at UMBC have been working on recently. Frankly they don’t get highlighted enough for the great work they do at the campus level, and they’ve been extremely dedicated towards changing campus life towards environmentally friendly norms over the past several years. The push for a cleaner and more sustainable future starts at the local level, and these organizations are the embodiment of the extraordinary things small groups of people can accomplish with the right amount of dedication, persistence, and hard work.
The Environmental Task Force, while only a few years old, is a group of students heavily invested in maintaining the natural environments on campus. They work every Wednesday and Friday afternoon when weather permits to clearing invasive plant species like English Ivy and thornbushes and cleaning up trash all over campus. This charismatic bunch makes friends with Facilities management, and works tirelessly with them towards beautifying the natural spaces of our campus. Next time you’re down by the athletic fields or over by the hillside apartments, keep an eye out for their handiwork! They’re also the hosts of Eco Hour, a podcast hosted out of the WMBC recording space where student leaders go in to discuss environmental issues they’re working on at UMBC among other things.
The Students for Environmental Awareness, or SEA, the older of the two main student organizations, has a long track record of advocating for environmental policies on campus (and at times off-campus). Their organization over the past several years lead the push for recycling and compost bins on campus you can see in the Commons and elsewhere, and frequently work with other environmental organizations and environmentally-minded students to advocate for a more green-friendly campus. Back in 2011 they worked with a number of outside organizations to push the MD legislature to adopt wind-energy friendly policies; now the legislature is working with companies to install wind farms off the Eastern Shore, bringing in sustainable manufacturing jobs for the city and clean power. Every year the SEA host GreenWeek, a week long celebration of environmentalism that culminates in EcoFest, where dozens of student organizations on campus with environmental interests from the Outdoor Recreation Club to the National Society of Black Engineers participate by celebrating their organizations’ work. They’re also the winners of the 2015 Prove-It Campaign for their idea Retriever Treasure. Retriever Treasure is an effort to reduce the number of perfectly reusable goods such as lamps and other dorm items thrown away by students at the end of year during move-out. Instead, through Retriever Treasure these items can be deposited in bins placed all over campus, then re-distributed to the students in need of dorm essentials the following semester. This way UMBC reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, and students get useful items for their dorms; keep an eye out for their work in a few weeks!
The list goes on and on; there was the UMBC Power Forward March this year, organized by a number of students to push UMBC to adopt a more environmentally friendly Climate Action Plan; there’s the Just Food UMBC campaign, which is pushing for 20% of the food produced on campus responsibly sourced by 2020; there’s the Eco-Ambassadors, who educate the student body through programs designed to teach students environmentally friendly ways to live on campus; and a whole host of others. These students are affecting real change on the campus level, and learning valuable lessons towards future organizing and advocacy efforts that they’ll bring with them when they graduate from UMBC. Come join them this weekend when we march on Washington to advocate for a cleaner future that we all want to see.
Get your tickets for the bus down here: