UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student Groups Wage War on Warming Environmental concerns unite, galvanize campus

Everyone from the Oval Office resident on down has been urging Americans to take steps to live more sustainable, environmentally friendly lives, but this is easier said than done. Two student groups on campus, the Sustainability Club and Masspirg, have taken up the gauntlet, showing that there is significant interest among students at UMB in a greener future.

The Sustainability Club focuses on raising awareness among students at UMB, with the mission of making the campus greener. This semester you can look forward to game-days, lectures, and a farmer’s market from a local organic producer organized by the club, and other ideas are still being organized.

Katie McAuliffe, an undergraduate student at UMB and President of the Sustainability Club, thinks going green just simply hasn’t entered a lot of students’ minds. She notes that a personal experience or a connection to nature is what creates a change of priorities in students.

For some people there was a particular moment that challenged them to think differently about the environment. It can begin as seeing a specific negative impact of pollution, realizing the true cost of toxic chemicals in the environment, reading that our climate in Massachusetts may soon be like North Carolina, thinking about drowning polar bears, or a vast number of other triggers.

The Sustainability Club hopes to help spread the word that we can reduce our impact on the planet and still live very normal, productive lives.

One way to help students reconnect with the environment is if UMB added a sustainability class requirement. Most students would already meet this requirement through classes taken to meet the Natural Science requirement. The Sustainability requirement would direct the focus on classes that engage students to expand their knowledge on the environment, but not be so restrictive that a student wouldn’t have a wide enough range of classes to choose from.

Masspirg is another example of a student group at UMB where students spend their time not only socializing, but working to solve real problems. Highly organized on a grassroots level, the student created Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is spread throughout the nation and works pretty efficiently on individual campuses. One of the projects this semester is the Global Climate Challenge.

Some of the policies that Masspirg is striving to implement this semester are reducing global warming pollution by 80% by 2050, requiring U.S. automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars, and 100% clean energy production by utilities.

Volunteers have been collecting signatures each week to send to Representative Stephen Lynch to express the support at the UMB Campus to fight Global Warming. The semester goal of 2,000 signatures is to remind Lynch to vote green , assure him that global warming is an issue of his constituents, and that political passivity won’t be ignored.

One event Masspirg will be holding this semester is a Green Job Fair on April 8th. This event will provide students the opportunity to get a taste of a few green businesses.

Chris Pond, an undergraduate student at UMB and the Global Warming Coordinator, thinks that people agree that there is an issue with global warming, but don’t realize how easy it is to be heard or to get involved and make a difference. He recognizes the time issue many students are challenged with, but to volunteer even for one day helps build a voice.

Campus Organizer from Masspirg Ria Rana sees a historic opportunity to take major strives to solve global warming and that now is the first time in eight years to progress this agenda.

For further information, contact Katie at [email protected] and Chris can be reached at [email protected]