At a time when climate change is one of the most highly disputed issues in America, Castleton Spartans took a stand together to say “no more” to participating in unsustainable practices, at the annual Campus Climate Rally on Sept. 23.
Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Senator’s Courtyard for the shared cause of rallying for increased awareness of how we exist within our environment and what we can all do to improve it.
“Events like this give students a chance to take climate change seriously and connect with other like-minded individuals,” Castleton Professor Candy Fox said. “We really need more student involvement—don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk, too.”
The event, which took place a day before the Global Climate Strike, garnered the attention of many passing students who were invited to calculate their carbon footprint, sign a climate pledge to better their sustainability practices, or simply pick up a pamphlet on easy ways to get involved.
First held in 2019, the Campus Climate Rally provides students with the opportunity to learn about the global climate crisis in a fun, interactive way while enjoying good food and good tunes.
The Green Campus Work Group and Spartan Climate Action group sponsored the rally and eager students from the Eco-Rep Program manned informational booths aimed at getting students to make a commitment to their climate awareness.
“I think the goal is to raise awareness of good sustainable practices in every aspect of our lives. There are things we can do to be more sustainable, small or large, and we want our communities to get involved and take action now,” sophomore Eco-Rep member Willow Hogan said.
She and her peers are adamant about, at the very least, starting a conversation with students about the climate crisis and the changes that can be easily made to reduce carbon emissions.
Castleton senior Adam Mitchell is the coordinator of the Eco-Rep program and the president of the Back Country Hunters and Anglers Club—a group that is dedicated to conservation and public land access for all. He believes all of the participating clubs and groups are a great way for students to directly impact their environment.
“We wouldn’t and won’t have the environment we do if it wasn’t for the action of protecting our surroundings,” Mitchell said. “Treat the environment like you would your own backyard.”
Part-time Castleton Professor and greenhouse manager, Mary Droege, also believes action is the way to make change, stressing that the first step is raising awareness of your own sustainability and then impacting things in the ways available to you.
“Your actions matter. Talking to your peers matters. Calling and emailing your representatives matters. Your vote matters and most of all, your voice matters,” Droege said.
The Eco-Reps program meets every other Friday at 3 p.m. in the Calvin Coolidge Library and participants invite anyone interested to stop by.
“To anyone who reads this, whether you feel you are a leader or not, get in the mix—come join the movement,” Droege said.