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September 21, 2023

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Organizations push for change on campus

Numerous student groups joined Environmental Action Group to raise awareness for different movements and change on campus.

Roughly 50 students gathered in the Union Oval for Rally for Change, which consisted of speakers from EAG, Feminist Organization Raising Consciousness and Empowerment, Black Student Union, TOMS Club and Vision.

The rally ended on the steps of McFall Center where students intended to give a signed banner to President Mary Ellen Mazey.

Between speeches, participants recited chants including, “We believe that we can win,” and “We are unstoppable; another world is possible.”

Issues addressed by the speakers included the environment, LGBTQ awareness, multiculturalism and gender equality.

“These groups are all working together,” said Thomas Hoffman, EAG media coordinator. “That’s a portion of the student body that wants the University on the same page.”

EAG wants the University to operate on 100 percent clean energy.

“How can we be carbon neutral by running on coal and natural gas?” said junior Jessica Echales, EAG coalition builder. “We need to think long term.”

However, the University does see itself on the same page as the students.

“We’re largely in agreement with [EAG’s] goals,” said University Spokesperson David Kielmeyer. “We’re just different on the time frame.”

Kielmeyer noted that the administration has been following the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment which was signed by Mazey in 2012, which aims at achieving climate neutrality.

Other issues that student groups discussed was having more feminine products in bathrooms and increasing tolerance for LGBTQ groups.

Some of the student leaders in attendance were impressed by the amount of support from students.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Greg Harrison, public relations chair for Black Student Union who spoke during the rally. “This brought together student movements on campus.”

Harrison said he thinks these types of rallies are effective because when the group headed to McFall, the administration couldn’t ignore their presence.

Unfortunately, only two student representatives were allowed in Mazey’s office for safety reasons, the rest were blocked by a security guard. They were not allowed to bring the banner to the second floor and were told to take a picture and post it on Mazey’s Facebook page.

“I guess we kind of expected it because we had a sit in last year [in McFall] and they had like 15 police officers waiting for us,” said EAG President Madison Thomas. “They don’t see it as we see it. We’re students who want to show the president what we made for her. They see us as we’re trying to disrupt them.”

Despite not being able to see Mazey, as she was not in the building, Thomas said the group won’t be deterred.

“All these movements are definitely not going to just disappear,” she said. “They’ll keep growing and continue to fight,”

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