Climate strikers demand change in front of de la Torre’s office

Alex Lai

Students+gathered+in+the+Conrad+Prebys+Aztec+Student+Union+and+marched+throughout+the+campus+demonstrating+their+stance+on+the+universitys+impact+on+climate+change.

Brittany Cruz-Ferejan

Students gathered in the Conrad Preby’s Aztec Student Union and marched throughout the campus demonstrating their stance on the university’s impact on climate change.

by Eugènie Budnik , Contributor

As millions of environmentally conscious people across the globe marched in protest of climate change this past Friday, so did a group of concerned San Diego State students.

SDSU students and alumni gathered in the courtyard of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union with protest signs and megaphones in hand. 

“I want to acknowledge that today we are standing on Kumeyaay land and there are many Kumeyaay students still here [SDSU] today,” said junior sustainability major Tiffany Curry. 

This land acknowledgment proved timely, as the strike occurred on California Native American Day.

The first climate strike on SDSU’s campus occurred in September of 2019, after climate youth-activist Greta Thunberg gave a powerful speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. The Green Love Sustainability Commission of SDSU submitted an Associated Students resolution calling for “SDSU’s Commitment to Climate Action, Justice, and Leadership” which can be read here

The resolution demands the university commit to full carbon neutrality by 2030, pursue environmentally responsible investing and establish a permanent Climate Action Committee in the University President’s office.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these demands had to take a yearlong hiatus. 

“COVID-19 makes organizing a lot harder,” said SDSU alumna and former Associated Students Sustainability Commissioner Courtney Ransom. 

Ransom was a lead organizer for the 2019 climate strike and made her way back to campus to participate in this year’s climate strike. 

“In 2019, we were trying to get the university to commit to doing certain things,” Ransom said. “Now, we are trying to get the university to act on the commitments that we got that year. It’s cool to see the progression happening.”  

The group’s march started in the Aztec Student Union and followed down the Campanile walkway. Along the way, the strike gained momentum and participants joined the crowd as they paraded around campus. However, the group was also challenged with counterattacks from various students passing by.

“Why are you even protesting? We can’t even have cars here!” A student passing by yelled at the group. 

The march culminated in a stop on the steps right in front of Manchester Hall, which houses the office of President Adela de la Torre. Students chanted and encouraged the university to divest from fossil fuels, establish a permanent SDSU Climate Action Committee, and invest in more public transportation for students and staff. All of these demands are outlined clearly in the 2019 Associated Students resolution. However, the organizers of the strike are unsatisfied with the university’s progress towards these goals. 

“We’ve been trying to tell the administration to take action,” a protester who requested to remain anonymous said.“We’ve been telling them to rise up. But Adela [de la Torre] does not want to rise up! Use your leadership and rise up.”

The general feeling from the participants of the strike was that their demands were not adequately being heard. By protesting, they hoped to reemphasize the promises made by the university over two years ago. The group of protestors further highlighted the need for student’s voices by encouraging all participants to lead in the discussion. During the march, multiple students marshaled the chants. 

SDSU put out a statement quickly after the protest regarding the university’s progress on climate change and other environmental issues. 

“SDSU has a demonstrated commitment to sustainability locally and globally as evidenced by its strategic plan priorities and construction activities dedicated to sustainable practices,” the statement said. 

The statement went on to describe multiple actions taken by the university in regards to sustainability. SDSU’s Climate Action Plan status report can be accessed here.

“The fight lives on,” said sustainability fourth year and media liaison for SDSU Climate Strike Tenaya Bearmar. “Go home, and get some rest. Be ready to continue the fight tomorrow and for the future.” 

 

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