Dozens of demonstrators with signs reading “Carbon neutrality by 2040” and “Demand divestment now” surrounded the Showalter Fountain on Aug. 26.
The event was a joint rally between the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electric Workers, Students for a New Green World and Sunrise Bloomington.
“We organized this to show solidarity with each other's movements,” SNGW president Sidd Das said. “We all agree with social and environmental justice and the core goals with each of our campaigns.”
SNGW’s goals include the creation of a climate action plan and Sunrise Bloomington is advocating for the IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels. The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition is pushing for fair pay for graduate workers at IU.
“Were demanding that IU follows through on their promises,” IU freshman Annabel Prokopy said, “Will IU hear what this movement of students, from freshman to seniors, from econ majors to geographers, have to say about the state of our future?”
The joint demonstration kicked off what the three groups hope will be a productive school year for addressing their concerns.
“I’m excited that the activist organizations on campus feel comfortable sharing a platform,” Sunrise co-leader Jackson Stoll said. “All of us at this point have equally received a response from our administrations, and all of us have equally been disappointed with their lack of action and their lack of conversation with our groups.”
SNGW has been demonstrating since 2019. They are advocating for IU to commit to being carbon neutral by 2040 and pushing for a climate action plan to be released by the end of 2023.
In 2020, over 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere by IU, according to The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.
“These emissions affect the most vulnerable and marginalized communities around the world and in our community here in Bloomington more so than the administration that refuses to cut these emissions in the first place,” Das said.
Last spring, IU President Pamela Whitten selected Tom Morrison, Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities, to head a committee that will investigate creating a climate action plan. No representatives from SNGW, Sunrise Bloomington, IU Student government or Sustain IU are on the committee.
“I want to let Indiana University administration know that it's not going to die down, it's only getting stronger, we're all here today and were all supportive of each other,” Sunrise co-leader George Schafer said.
Sunrise Bloomington began advocating for the IU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels in 2021. The IU Foundation manages IU’s endowment, their status as a nonprofit means they do not have to disclose their investments. Sunrise Bloomington is pushing for them to disclose their investments and then reinvest the money they currently have in fossil fuels into green companies, Schafer said.
Graduate workers at IU have also been working to receive better pay. This included a strike that began in April 2022.
The graduate workers have had support of Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton and from professors at IU.