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administration student life

IU students advocate for IU to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 at Dunn Meadow protest


At the “Keep the Promise'' demonstration, all of the protestors were asking IU for the same thing — carbon neutrality.

Students for a New Green World, a student organization which works to combat climate change, and IU Student Government’s environmental affairs committee organized the protest to advocate for climate change action at IU which took place 2 p.m. Wednesday in Dunn Meadow. The demonstration was organized in support of an IUSG resolution created by the environmental affairs committee which unanimously passed in IUSG congress on March 8.

The resolution has seven demands. The demands that were emphasized at the demonstration were to have IU create a carbon neutrality plan, with the help of faculty, staff and students, by fall 2023, have Sustain IU create ways for students to be involved in making IU carbon neutral, for IU to have 50% fewer carbon emissions released in 2019, which was about 300,000 metric tons, by 2030 and for IU should be carbon neutral by 2040.

Sophomore Katie Lo, a member of Students for a New Green World, sits on the grass on March 24 in Dunn Meadow while listening to the speakers at the “Keep the Promise” demonstration. “They were are really powerful,” Lo said. “Hearing student voices can be a valuable experience.” Ethan Moore

Carbon neutrality is when an organization achieves net-zero carbon emissions by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal or eliminating emissions, according to an article by CNET.

The other goal of the demonstration’s organizers was to get more signatures on a petition to support the resolution that was passed, since the university does not have to follow every resolution passed by IUSG.

The demonstration included a series of speakers, a performance by a band from Bloomington Delta Music Club, a march around the Indiana Memorial Union and the taping of the IUSG resolution to the front doors of Bryan Hall, which is the IU Office of the Provost.

Freshman Annetta Itnyre, a member of Students for a New Green World, tapes a sign to a pillar on March 24 on outside Dunn Meadow. The SNGW organziation created signs in the week leading up to the demonstration. Ethan Moore

The first series of speakers included IU freshman Lauren Ulrich, who said she feels let down by IU because they aren’t as green as they advertised and how it’s important for students to hold the university accountable.

“Those empty promises IU made only attracted a generation of changemakers who will not stop fighting for the future we deserve, and we’ll make change, whether IU wants it or not,” she said. “I still believe IU has the potential to make a difference, but now I know that’s because we are that potential.” 

SNGW President Beverly Thompson spoke about how climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, such as low-income communities and people of color.

“Without fully recognizing and acknowledging the systemic issues that plague our country and have resulted in disproportionate impacts, our activism falls short of what it is intended to be,” she said.

Other speakers include members from Sunrise Movement Bloomington and the Indiana Forest Alliance at IU.

Freshman Jack Milton holds a sign during the “Keep the Promise” protest on March 24 in front of the Sample Gates. The demonstrators started in Dunn Meadow and then walked around the Indiana Memorial Union to finish at Sample Gates. Ethan Moore

After listening to speakers and live music, the protestors marched from Dunn Meadow down Seventh Street around the IMU to the Sample Gates. As they marched, some of them carried signs with messages such as, “CLIMATE ACTION NOW!” and “Wake up to the climate crisis,” and chanted as they walked.

After listening to two more speakers at the Sample Gates encourage the demonstrators to push IU to take active steps towards carbon neutrality, the group marched a few feet over to Bryan Hall. At the Office of the Provost, Siddharth Das, SNGW vice president and chair for the IUSG environmental affairs committee, and Shems Al-Ubaidi, member of the environmental affairs committee and an author of the IUSG resolution, read off the demands listed on the resolution and then taped the two pages of the resolution to front door.

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